The Thai police officer who killed a Calgary man and seriously wounded a Chilliwack woman has finally been sentenced for the 2008 shooting.
Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat, 43, had pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder of 24-year-old Leo Del Pinto and the attempted murder of his friend Carly Reisig.
He was sentenced this week to 37 1/2 years in prison.
Del Pinto and Reisig were backpacking together when they were shot outside a bar in northern Thailand in 2008.
Dechawiwat was off duty at the time of the shooting. At first, he admitted to shooting Del Pinto but claimed his gun went off accidentally during an altercation.
A later investigation contradicted that claim, exposed a cover-up and led to the murder and attempted murder charges. Even so, the case stalled in the Thai courts for several years.
In the meantime, Dechawiwat, was charged and convicted of beating his pregnant wife to death. The 37 1/2 years will be added on top of his previous sentence.
Del Pinto's father, who was in the Thai court for sentencing, thinks he knows why the former cop finally admitted to his son's murder.
“This man pleaded guilty at the last minute to avoid the death sentence, just as he did when he murdered his wife,” Ernie Del Pinto told journalist Andrew Drummond.
In 2010, Reisig told the Times: "I want some justice done. It's been two-and-a-half years with no closure," she continued. "There needs to be justice. How many other people need to die before they realize this man is a danger? I just want something to be done."
She was unavailable for comment this week. But Metro Calgary reported this week that she is living in isolation on a small island between Vancouver and Gabriola islands.
"My life has changed forever," she told the newspaper.
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