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Thai court sentences German tourist killer to death

FILE - in this April 9, 2019, file photo, Thai suspect Ronnakorn Romruen, center, is escorted by police as he arrives at the Koh Sichang police station in Chonburi province, Thailand. Ronnakorn was sentenced to death Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by the Chonburi provincial court for raping and murdering a German tourist on the popular resort island after he confessed to carrying out the ordeal.

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai man has been sentenced to death for raping and murdering a German tourist on a popular resort island. The Chonburi provincial court, in a ruling seen Friday, sentenced Ronnakorn Romruen to death after he confessed.

It convicted him of rape, murder, concealing the body and driving a motorcycle under the influence of methamphetamine. The court ruled that Ronnakorn raped the 27-year-old victim and then killed her by bludgeoning her head with a rock.

Ronnakorn was arrested in April after police discovered the body under rocks and leaves.

Koh Si Chang is a popular tourist destination with a population of 5,000 people. The island is in Chonburi province, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Bangkok.

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Police investigator Somkid Kaensa said at the time of the arrest that a Thai tourist had notified police after seeing Ronnakorn's clothes covered in blood, and police then searched the area and discovered the tourist's body.

Somkid said a flower vendor who knew Ronnakorn also saw him in clothes covered in blood and asked him what had happened. The vendor identified Ronnakorn for police, who went to his home, where they found him and his bloodstained shirt, Somkid said.

In June last year, Thailand carried out its first execution in nine years. If it had reached 10 years without an execution it would have been reclassified as having abolished the death penalty in practice.

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