The defense team and senior police officers close to Pol Col Thitisant “Joe Ferrari” Uttanapol plan on arguing that Thitisant was only guilty of manslaughter and not murder, according to several police officers familiar with the investigation.
The case of Joe Ferrari shocked the nation after CCTV footage emerged of the fresh-faced police colonel choking to death an alleged drug dealer with a plastic bag in the middle of a police station.
The case sparked further outrage when Thitisant was afforded a chance to speak to the press last week after running from the law during which he defended his actions and apologized to the nation.
Now according to several officers familiar with the case, police investigators conducting official inquiries into the matter plan on recommending a manslaughter case instead of second-degree murder charges.
“You can already hear it in last week’s press conference, they want to push the narrative that this was not pre-meditated, that it was an accident made by an overly aggressive officer trying to fight crime,” said an officer who requested anonymity. “They want to portray Joe as an ardent crime fighter and that this was wrong but an accident he carried out while trying to uphold the law.”
Downgrading charges to manslaughter is especially significant because the jail term is reduced from 3-15 years. Since it is Thitisant’s first offense it may even be suspended.
“I think they’re prepared for the public backlash should they go through with it but apparent Khun Thitisant has friends in high places,” said the officer.
Thitisant’s lawyers this weekend denied all charges against him and said he would fight any accusation in court.
It is understood that Thitisant might agree to manslaughter charges should the Office of the Attorney General accept the police’s recommendation.