Canadian gets 3-1/2 yrs in Thai jail for cult murder

Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:53am EDT
 
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By Panumet Tanraksa

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Reuters) - A Canadian woman was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in a Thai jail on Thursday for killing her American partner, who claimed be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and faced a spate of fraud charges in Hawaii.

Margaret Crane, 50, got two years for killing George Patrick Dubie, 56, after a quarrel at a restaurant in the northern city of Chiang Mai in 2006 and 1-1/2 years for possessing and carrying a pistol in public.

"The court views that the defendant committed the crime as charged, but did it in a rage after being provoked, pressured and beaten," Judge Thanakorn Pusayapaiboon said as he read out the verdict.

"Therefore the sentence is lower than what is stated in the law," he said, adding her confession helped halve the murder penalty to two years in jail.

Canadian newspapers described the pair as a 21st century "Bonnie and Clyde" -- an American couple and gang notorious for their robberies on banks, small stores and gas stations in the central United States in the mid-1930s.

Crane told the police after she was arrested that Dubie -- who claimed to be a part-time CNN correspondent and to have worked for the United Nations in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami -- was abusive and hit her and their six children.

Their relationship worsened when he became involved with a Thai woman, Thai newspapers reported.

Crane told the court she used a revolver she took from him during a scuffle, but did not know how many shots she fired. A police forensic report said only one bullet was found in his body.   Continued...

 
<p>Canadian Margaret Crane, 50, arrives at a court in Chiang Mai, north of Bangkok, March 20, 2008. The Canadian woman was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in a Thai jail on Thursday for killing her American partner, who claimed be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and faced a spate of fraud charges in Hawaii. REUTERS/Stringer</p>