After a five-hour trial, a Thai provincial court has found 28-year-old Australian kickboxer Antonio Bagnato guilty of murdering an Australian Hells Angel named Wayne Rodney Schneider in Pattaya in December 2015. Under Thai law, Bagnato will be sentenced to a year in prison and death.
Pattaya is a sex-tourism destination on the Gulf of Thailand about 90 miles south of Bangkok. Several motorcycle clubs including the Hells Angels have established chapters there.
When he was murdered, Schneider had lived in Pattaya for about a month in a villa he shared with former Comancheros president Amad “Jay’’ Malkoun. Schneider was kidnapped from the home by five men wearing masks after a night of drinking with Malkoun and an unidentified Australian. Bagnato and Schneider were partners in a health club in Sydney and Bagnato had worked as Schneider’s bodyguard.
Schneider had been accused of various crimes by Australian police. In 2007, he was listed as a “most wanted” fugitive after being accused of shooting a nightclub bouncer in the knee. He was acquitted of that charge. But he also accused of trafficking “large quantities” of a GHB-like bodybuilding drug called 1,4-Butanediol in 2009. Sydney police also arrested Schneider for having 200,000 in betting chips from a local casino in his car. Police thought there must be something illegal about that. Schneider explained he was just lucky.
Case Quickly Solved
The day after he was kidnapped, Thai police found Schneider’s body in a deep grave near a Buddhist temple. Bagnato (photo above) became a suspect immediately. Police arrested Bagnato’s Thai wife and accused her of renting the car used to kidnap Schneider. Bagnato had previously been accused of murder in Australia.
Within hours, police arrested a 21-year-old American named Tyler Joseph Fulton Sheen Gerard at the Cambodian border. Gerard admitted driving Bagnato to the border and was eventually sentenced to two years in prison.
Bagnato was arrested the next day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Multiple witnesses connected Bagnato to the kidnapping. GPS records for the car rented by Bagnato’s wife put the car at Schneider’s grave around the time of his murder. According to published reports in Thai newspapers, DNA evidence also linked Bagnato to Schneider’s murder.
Bagnato maintained his innocence since his arrest. He claimed he had spent the night Schneider was murdered with a whore.