Thai officer jailed for killing his wife
Calgary resident ‘pushes harder’ for justice for slain son
The family of a Calgary man killed in Thailand three years ago plans to push even harder for justice after the officer charged with his shooting was jailed for another killing.
Thai police Sgt. Uthai Dechachiwat was sentenced to 25 years in prison this week after pleading guilty to the clubbing death of his 18-year-old pregnant wife.
Dechachiwat is also charged with the shooting death of Leo Del Pinto. The 25-year-old Calgarian was gunned down Jan. 6, 2008, outside a restaurant in the Thai village of Pai. His friend Carly Reisig was also shot, but survived.
The accused had at one time said he was acting in self-defence, but he has since been charged with first-degree murder in Del Pinto’s death.
Amid a slow, pre-trial process for the Del Pinto death, Dechachiwat was charged, and later pleaded guilty to the murder of his young, pregnant wife last fall.
Del Pinto’s father Ernie says because Dechachiwat didn’t get life in prison or the death penalty for that crime, he will continue to pursue a sentence for his son’s death.
“I’m pushing even harder for justice now,” said Ernie Del Pinto in Calgary.
“This man didn’t just kill his wife, he killed a small child, because she was pregnant.”
The pre-trial process for the Del Pinto death is expected to continue into late spring.
Ernie hopes a trial date will be set for late summer or early fall in either the capital of Bangkok, or the smaller town of Mae Hong Son, located further north near Pai where the shooting took place.
Ernie plans to go with his wife to Thailand to attend either the trial or the sentencing.
“I’d like to go out for Leo’s trial, although it will be hard, and really emotional.”
It would be the first time Ernie will travel to Thailand since the death of his son. He hopes to find the location of the shooting and say a prayer to capture Leo’s spirit.
“I know his spirit is there. And I want to go there where he lay dead, and say a prayer, so I can bring his spirit back home, to my country.”
Ernie says the slow pace of the Thai justice system, particularly the lengthy pre-trial process, has left his family with a lot of pain, frustration and little closure.
“My boy was a good man. Whenever I asked him to do anything, he would do it. He was always kind to everyone, never mean. I still miss him so much, his smile, his laughter and his voice.”