BANGKOK – Artur Segarra was found guilty on Friday and sentenced to death for the 2016 murder of fellow Spaniard David Bernat in Bangkok, along with 12 other charges in relation to the case.
The court found that Segarra had met Bernat on Jan. 19, 2016, only hours after the latter had arrived in the Thai capital, and after midnight headed to Segarra’s apartment, where he was kidnapped, and murdered a week later, on Jan. 26, according to the police.
The judge accepted the account of the prosecution maintained during the trial that Segarra had held Bernat prisoner to gain access to his bank account in Singapore, where the victim kept his savings.
According to the forensics’ report, Bernat was killed around Jan. 26 and according to the investigation, that same night the accused rode on his motorcycle with a big package – in which the police suspected he carried the body – towards the river in Bangkok, and returned in the morning on Jan. 27 without carrying anything.
On Jan. 30, authorities found the first of Bernat’s remains in the Chao Phraya river, and later discovered six other pieces of his body in the water.
The police identified Segarra as the main suspect on Feb. 5; that same night he was recognized in a restaurant in Surin province but he managed to flee to Cambodia, where after being detained for two days, he was handed over to Thai authorities.
The prosecutor’s office called upon 40 people – none of whom had directly witnessed the crime – and showed video camera footage, along with findings from Segarra’s rented apartment and bank statements in the court to prove his guilt.
During the trial, Segarra maintained he was innocent and that he was a victim of a scam orchestrated by his Thai ex-girlfriend Pritsana Saen-ubon, who testified against him in December.
Segarra will have two chances of appealing against the verdict at the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in case the sentence remains, he can demand mercy from the Thai king to reduce his punishment.
The last time Thailand executed someone was in 2009, when two convicts – sentenced to death for drug trafficking – received capital punishment, before finally implementing an indefinite and unregulated moratorium on the fulfillment of the punishment.
The last execution for an assassination was in 2003, when the country changed its execution method from shooting to lethal injection.