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Apr 21, 6:03 AM EDT

Spaniard sentenced to death for gruesome killing in Thailand

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BANGKOK (AP) -- A Thai court on Friday sentenced to death a Spanish man after finding him guilty of murder in the gruesome death of a fellow Spaniard.

Artur Segarra Princep had been charged with premediated murder carried out in the course of theft in the death of David Bernat, 40. Parts of his dismembered body were retrieved from Bangkok's Chao Phraya River in February last year, while traces of the victim's bloodstains and DNA were found in Segarra's Bangkok apartment.

Segarra's lawyer said his client denied the charges against him and will appeal.

"We still want to prove (his innocence)," said Worasit Piriyawiboon. "Artur himself insisted that he did not commit a murder. Whether he should be found guilty of the crime of theft or the crime of murder, these are two separate crimes."

During the investigation, police said they found a freezer in Segarra's home that is believed to have been used to store the body, as well as a book with instructions on how to dismember body parts.

Police believed that Segarra held Bernat against his will and tortured him to force him to transfer money to his bank account, then killed him and chopped up his body to try to conceal the crime. The theft charge focused on 80,000 baht ($2,285), though police indicated they suspect much more was stolen.

Segarra was arrested in Cambodia and sent back to Thailand in February last year to stand trial.

Worasit noted that his client was also convicted on other charges including misusing the victim's ATM card, "but with the death sentence, other sentences don't matter."

Segarra, when being photographed by reporters in his holding cell Friday, held up his palm, on which was handwritten "Lucas 23:34," a reference to the Biblical verse "And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'"

Executions are rarely carried out in Thailand.

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