Poker Playing Killer Ron ‘Mad Yank’ Fanelli Plays Insanity CardNovember 18, 2010 11:45 am
In a tragic case of irony, the poker player known as Ron ‘Mad Yank’ Fanelli is now undergoing psychiatric evaluation after confessing to murdering and disposing of the body of Sweetheart Bar hostess Wanpen Pianchai in Thailand.
Ron Fanelli was arrested back in July for what he described at the time as “a horrible, horrible accident,” even though she was stabbed several times, before being stuffed into a travel bag and dumped by a remote Phuket roadside.
The poker player nicknamed “the Mad Yank” on account of his volatile temperament, has now had legal proceedings against him put on hold until he completes a psychiatric evaluation at Suan Saranrom Hospital in Surat Thani.
Fanelli, 37, has been undergoing a psychiatric examination there since early September and will only return back to Phuket Provincial Prison once staff are able to assess whether he remains sane enough to stand trial.
Apparently, Ron ‘Mad Yank’ Fanelli’s demeanor has completely changed since being taken to the psychiatric hospital and, according to an article appearing in phuketwan.com, “is no longer able to hold a normal conversation and constantly produces unexpected responses.”
Explaining his ‘the Mad Yank’ nickname, respected poker player and journalist Victoria Coren commented:
“He was temperamental, but you don’t give someone a ‘mad’ nickname if you mean it. It was just a joke. He loved it. I think the name might actually have been his own idea to begin with.”
Now, however, every aspect of his sanity will be under constant scrutiny as hospital staff decide on his current state of mind, as well as at the time of the horrific crime.
In the meantime, a concerned group of online poker players have already raised around 30,000 baht (US $1,000) for Ms Wanphen’s family and are hoping that figure will rise to 100,000 (US$ 3,350) in the near future.
Despite there being a great deal of poverty within the country, the Thai people are known for their kind and warm nature.
Bill Rini, who took the first installment of the money raised to Wanphen’s mother, recounted a heart warming story when he said;
“Sa-ard [Wanphen’s mother] brought down a letter sent to her by the Rotary Club of Patong Beach granting Wanphen’s children, Farm and Iang, scholarships amounting to 6,000 baht (about US$193) a year each while they stayed in school.”
“Amusingly, everyone there translated ‘Rotary’ to ‘Lotary’ and thought it had to do with the lottery. I had to explain what the Rotary Club was and everyone seemed to do that embarrassed chuckle when they realized how far off they had been.”