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Ronald Fanelli: a ''horrible, horrible accident,'' but no details, please

Phuket Bar Girl's Killer Plays the Insanity Card

Thursday, November 18, 2010
AUTHORITIES at Phuket Prison and in Surat Thani continue to puzzle over the change in character in accused murderer and confessed killer Ronald Fanelli.

Phuket sources report that the American international-standard poker player and former US Navy officer appears to have undergone a complete alteration in demeanor since volunteering for a psychiatric examination.

Fanelli confessed to killing Sweetheart Bar hostess Wanpen Pianchai, in somewhat mysterious circumstances. She was picked up from the Karon bar by a bearded stranger on June 18 but was not stabbed to death until 24 hours later.

As part of a deal that Mr Fanelli proved capable of making with police at the time, the details of his version of what took place - the only version, given the death of Khun Wanpen - were to be withheld from the media in exchange for his confession.

Although Khun Wanpen was naked and defenceless, Fanelli told Phuketwan at a media presentation that the killing was ''a horrible, horrible accident'' in which she was somehow stabbed not once but twice, once in the back and once in the chest.

Khun Wanpen, mother of two, was unceremoniously stuffed into a travel bag and dumped beside a road in central Phuket, while Fanelli went into hiding on the island for about a month, apparently unwilling to tell police about the ''accident.''

Sources at Phuket Prison now tell Phuketwan that Mr Fanelli's behavior while at the jail for several weeks was categorised as normal. He responded to questions in a way that did not lead warders to have any doubts about his mental health.

However, it appears that those doubts must have been building in Mr Fanelli's own mind. He volunteered for a thorough psychiatric examination, which he has been undergoing since early September, in Surat Thani.

Jailers in Surat Thani are understood to have telephoned their counterparts at Phuket Prison, surprised that the 37-year-old former New Yorker is no longer able to hold a normal conversation and constantly produces unexpected responses.

Psychiatrists in Surat Thani are reported to be prepared to continue their assessment for as long as it takes to accurately determine whether Mr Fanelli was sane at the time of the killing, and whether he now remains sane enough to understand the likely penalties for a conviction on a charge of murder.
Phuket Hostess Killer Undergoes Psychiatric Check
Update Hostess killer and poker player Ronald Fanelli is in Surat Thani undergoing psychiatric tests that may explain why he killed Sweetheart Bar mother of two Wanpen Pianchai.
Phuket Hostess Killer Undergoes Psychiatric Check

Phuket Bar Killing: Inside the Mind of the 'Mad Yank'
Latest One of Phuket's most brutal murders involving an expat leaves questions unanswered. Now an old friend of Ronald 'Mad Yank' Fanelli fills in some of the gaps.
Phuket Bar Killing: Inside the Mind of the 'Mad Yank'

Phuket Bar Hostess Killing a 'Horrible Accident'
PHOTO ALBUM The stabbing of a Phuket bar hostess was a 'horrible accident', says an American who has been on the island for three years and who says he was previously a US Navy officer.
Phuket Bar Hostess Killing a 'Horrible Accident'

Phuket Friends Join Sweethearts Killing Reenactment
Latest The friends and workmates of murdered bar hostess Wanpen Pianchai today saw the clean shaven man who has been arrested over her murder and felt a sense of relief.
Phuket Friends Join Sweethearts Killing Reenactment

Phuket Bar's Pain Ends But Killers Remain Free
Latest Murders involving expats on Phuket are rare but one of the worst, a double murder, was committed by a British man. Here's a Phuketwan update on the region's remaining mysteries.
Phuket Bar's Pain Ends But Killers Remain Free

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If you aren't a doctor, perhaps you shouldn't judge his condition. You are now branded a yellow journalist!

Posted by john everett on November 19, 2010 00:52

Editor Comment:

We don't know his condition. But people who have been dealing with him have noted a change in his demeanor (and so, apparently, has he), and as a matter of public interest, we have reported what we have learned. We continue to be surprised that, while the number of professional journalists is decreasing, the number of experts continues to grow.

As for your accusation about our journalism, being called a yellow journalist in Thailand has another meaning entirely. It's worth pointing out, though, that in the article we resisted the urge to remind readers that Mr Fanelli's poker name was ''Mad Yank.'' Would we have been a brighter shade of yellow if we had mentioned this?


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