(AP) – A U.S. citizen charged with killing his pregnant Thai wife in Thailand was accused of attempting to kill what appears to be the same woman while living in Colorado in 2019.
Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, was arrested Thursday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and confessed to killing Pitchaporn Kidchob, 32, Maj. Gen. Weerachon Boontawee, chief of Provincial Police Region 5′s Detective Department, said Friday. It is not clear whether he had a lawyer representing him.
The name of the woman Balzer was accused of attempting to kill while living in Longmont, Colorado, was redacted from court records. However, a spokesperson for the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Shannon Carbone, said the victim in the domestic violence case and the woman killed in Thailand have the same name and appear to be the same person based on photographs of her in the media. The office has not received any official information about the victim in Thailand, she said.
According to court documents, the victim met Balzer around 2017 and later left Thailand to live with him in the United States.
In 2019, after the victim rebuffed Balzer's attempt to have sex, he allegedly grabbed her arms, hit her in the face and slammed her head repeatedly into a headboard in the bedroom of their apartment before pointing a gun at her and saying “I will kill you," an arrest affidavit said.
According to the document, the victim pushed the gun away, and it fired a shot next to her head. She escaped while Balzer tried to cover up bullet holes in the wall. She also told police that Balzer strangled her two weeks before during an argument in which he accused her of cheating on him.
While Balzer was charged with attempted second-degree murder, he was able to plead guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree assault because the victim went back to Thailand and did not want to return to Colorado to testify, Carbone said. He was sentenced to probation, including domestic violence treatment, she said.
“This murder highlights the danger of domestic violence as well as the potential for lethality that can often exist for victims. Our hearts go out to the victim’s loved ones; it is a very tragic case. We hope that he will be held fully responsible for the murder,” she said.
Balzer was also arrested in Colorado in December after police allegedly found 73 guns in his van, a violation of his probation that prohibits him from having any firearms. An attorney listed as representing Balzer in that ongoing case as well as in the domestic violence case did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
Police in Thailand said Balzer was interrogated Friday in the northern city of Nan, where he had lived with Kidchob, police Lt. Col. Somkiat Ruam-ngern said. The murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.
According to Weerachon, Balzer said Pitchaporn had “given him hope,” so he married her and bought her a house in Nan, her home province. Balzer said he became enraged when she tried to chase him out, so he stabbed her with a knife, the police officer said.
He said Balzer put her body in a rubbish bin that he sealed and buried in the woods about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from their home. Balzer then drove on a motorbike to Chiang Mai, where he was arrested, Weerachon said.
Police had been alerted to a possible crime when Pitchaporn’s mother, who was unable to reach her daughter by phone, went to the couple’s house and found blood stains.
Balzer, a programmer, met Pitchaporn in Thailand and they were married in the U.S., after which Balzer quit his job, sold all his property and moved to Nan, the newspaper Thai Rath reported, citing Provincial Police Region 5 commander Prachuab Wongsuk.
Balzer said he did not know his wife was three months' pregnant, Prachuab said.
Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin contributed to this report from Denver.