Calgary

Thai policeman sentenced to 37½ years for Calgarian's death

The off-duty Thai police officer who killed a Calgary tourist five years ago has been sentenced to 37½ years in prison.

Leo Del Pinto was shot to death in a northern Thailand town in 2008

Del Pinto family feels justice served 1:56
Leo Del Pinto was shot in the torso and face in January 2008 outside a bar in Pai in northern Thailand. (Courtesy of Ross Fortune)

The off-duty Thai police officer who killed a Calgary tourist five years ago has been sentenced to 37½ years in prison.

Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat fatally shot Leo Del Pinto, 25, in the face and chest in the tourist town of Pai in northern Thailand in 2008.

Del Pinto's friend, Carly Reisig of British Columbia, was also hit once in the chest but survived.

Initially the off-duty policeman said he killed Del Pinto in self-defence as he tried to break up a fight between the two Canadians as they left a restaurant.

Dechawiwat changed his plea to guilty earlier this summer.

His sentence for killing Del Pinto will be added to the 25 years he is already serving for the murder of his wife, whom he clubbed to death while he was free on bail in 2010.

"It kind of made me happy, in one way, and sad in another because he didn’t have any remorse, any consideration, compassion," said the victim’s father, Ernie Del Pinto, who was in the courtroom in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for Tuesday's sentencing.

"I feel that some sort of justice has been served."

  • Click on the 'Listen' button to hear the full interview with Ernie Del Pinto on the Calgary Eyeopener.