An Australian man has been sentenced to death in Thailand for his role in the 2015 abduction and murder of a Hells Angels member.
Antonio Bagnato, who also goes by the nickname Tony Bang, was found guilty and sentenced by a Thai court today over his role in the grisly death of Wayne Schneider, a known former member of the notorious bikie gang.
Bagnato was originally arrested back in December 2015 in Cambodia after fleeing Thailand shortly after the murder took place.
The Thai court found that 28-year-old Bagnato, along with 22-year-old American Tyler Gerard, abducted Schneider at a villa in Pattaya, around 150km south of Bangkok. Schneider, 37, was tortured, murdered, and buried in a shallow grave 30km from site of the initial abduction. Police alleged that the motivation for the crime was to extort money from Schneider, who was suspected to have played a key role in a large-scale drug importation ring operating between Europe and Australia.
Bagnato and Schneider had previously been business partners back home in Sydney, having stakes in a boxing gym. Australian police were investigating the pair in connection to international drug deals, as well as a separate murder case.
Bagnato had previously pleaded not guilty to the crime during the initial stages of the trail last November. Key witnesses however placed him at the scene of the abduction, and GPS data on a hire car used by Bagnato lead police to the site of the Schneider’s body.
The Australian was found guilty of his role in the crime and sentenced to death. However, executions are rarely carried out in Thailand; the last death sentences carried out by Thai officials occurred in 2009.
Another Australian man, Luke Hunt, was previously convicted of aided and abetting Bagnato by driving him and his family to the Cambodian border. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison, wholly suspended.
Source: The Age.