Thai-born convict gets 18-year term in Norway

Noppadol Wanthaphirom, 31, was sentenced to 18 years in prison this week for the murder of computer games maker Einar Opsahl in Oslo’s Bislett district in June 2011, a Norwegian press reports. An appeals court likened the murder to a “pure execution.”

Einar Opsahl was shot on June 18, 2011 by 31-year-old Noppadol Wanthaphirom,. Photo: BENJAMIN A. WARD

Opsahl was shot at close range when police believe that he unwittingly disturbed a narcotics deal involving a car that Opsahl may have thought was a taxi. A few days after the murder at the taxi stand at Bislett, police arrested eight persons in an Oslo apartment. One of them was the then-30-year-old murder defendant, who initially was charged with possession of large quantities of narcotics.

He was later charged with Opsahl’s murder, after police technicians found traces of the victim’s blood on the now 31-year-old’s trousers. Telephone data and witness observations also placed him at the scene of the crime.

Noppadol Wanthaphirom during an interview with VG. Photo: Frode Hansen

Newspaper Dagbladet reported that the defendant has been convicted nine times since arriving in Norway as a boy from Thailand and Laos. He hasn’t held legal residence permission in Norway since 2006.

He has consistently denied shooting Opsahl but was initially sentenced to 18 years in prison by an Oslo city court, with an appeals court now upholding the conviction. An appeals court judge wrote that “there are moments” when a murder “demands punishment near the maximum allowed. The murder resembled a pure execution. When (the defendant) fired at close range at the head of Opsahl, the result must have been assured and desired.”

Opsahl was a 35-year-old computer games maker who was out on the town with two childhood friends when he was suddenly gunned down. His family was reported to be relieved by the appeal court’s ruling.

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