Ron “Mad Yank” Fanelli Gets 10 Years, 3 Months

I’m not sure how I missed this in the Thai press but it appears that Ron “Mad Yank” Fanelli has received a 10 year, 3 month sentence for the murder of Wanphen Pienjai.

PHUKET: Ronald Fanelli, the former US Navy officer who was convicted this week of murdering a Phuket bar hostess and sentenced to 10 years and three months in jail, will be given the opportunity to move to another prison – if the US Embassy requests it.

Fanelli, once known in online poker circles as ”Mad Yank,” killed Karon Sweetheart Bar worker Wanpen Pienjai last year and stuffed her naked body into a suitcase, dumping it on a deserted road in central Phuket, where it was not found for several days.

The murder of the mother of two came 24 hours after Fanelli picked her up at the bar, and only Fanelli knows what transpired between the time he rode off with her on the back of his motorcycle and the killing.

At a media briefing after his arrest, Fanelli, in response to a series of questions from a Phuketwan reporter, described the killing as ”a horrible, horrible accident.”

Difficult to explain, though, was how the ”horrible accident” came to involve two stab wounds, one to her chest and the other to her back.

Fanelli was twice sent to Suan Saranrom Hospital in Surat Thani for psychiatric examinations, one of them very lengthy, during which he was found to be sane.

The killing was followed by almost a month when Phuket City police pursued the few leads they had about the bearded expat who was seen riding away by other staff at the bar, but with no strong clues as to his identity.

The time Fanelli has already served in Surat Thani and the overcrowded Phuket Prison will be deducted from his sentence. He may choose to appeal.

In another article in the Phuket Gazette, they state that Fanelli was originally sentenced to 20 years for murder and 6 months for hiding the body. Because Fanelli confessed to the murder his sentence was halved.

The Thai prosecutor, Permgiart Bumrung, said the prosecutor’s office was considering appealing what they viewed as an overly lenient sentence. They had until Dec 1 to file an appeal and I can’t find any media reference indicating that they did file any appeal.

Fanelli also had the right to file an appeal but his attorney, who strangely asked that her name not be released to the public, said that Fanelli wouldn’t appeal.

Fanelli can request a royal pardon from HM the King. His Majesty grants pardons every year for his birthday.