Defendants plead not guilty to murdering karaoke bar girl

Suspects in the trial of the murder of Warisara Klinjui on their way to the Khon Kaen provincial court on Wednesday. (Photos by Jakkrapan Nathanri)

KHON KAEN – Four suspects in the karaoke bar girl dismemberment case entered pleas of not guilty to murder in Khon Kaen Court on Wednesday, but admitted to concealing her body – in a bid to avoid the death penalty and get a short prison sentence.

Lawyer Nopadol Seedatan, representing the victim’s family, said Preeyanuch Nonwangchai, 24, Kawita Ratchada, 25, Apiwan Sattayabundit, 28, and Wasin Namprom, 22, had denied the serious charge of premeditated murder.

He said Ms Preeyanuch and Ms Kawita admitted to assaulting Warisara Klinjui, 22, and burying her dismembered body. Ms Apiwan admitted to concealing a body and drug abuse. Mr Wasin pleaded guilty to concealing a body.

The offence of premeditated murder carries a possible death penalty, and concealing a body a maximum jail term of one year and/or a fine of 20,000 baht.

Ms Preeyanuch was earlier reported to have confessed to police that she wanted to teach Warisara a lesson because she had provided police with information that led to the arrest of Ms Preeyanuch’s husband in a drug abuse case.

The victim was strangled to death in a rented car in Khon Kaen on May 23, her body dismembered and then buried in Khao Suan Kwang district of the northeastern province.

Public prosecutors arraigned the four on charges of premeditated murder, concealng a body, unlawful detention, theft and possessing a weapon in a public place. During police interrogation, the four reportedly confessed to all charges, including premeditated murder.

Another defendant Jidarat Promkhun, 21, was charged only with theft. It is alleged the four other suspects met her in Bangkok after the murder in Khon Kaen and sold her the victim’s mobile phone. Ms Jidarat denied the charge.

Lawyer Nopadol also said that Pichapa Khampoengjai, the dead woman’s mother, is demanding the defendants pay 10 million baht in compensation. The Khon Kaen court scheduled the trial to begin on Sept 19.

Wasin Namprom, 22, is pictured during the re-enactment of the body’s concealment in Khao Suan Kwang district, Khon Kaen, on May 31. (Photo by Jakkrapan Nathanri)

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