US man charged with murder of Thai national jailed until next court date

| 15.04,19. 02:39 PM |

US man charged with murder of Thai national jailed until next court date

Photo: Alex Dion arrived in Australia on Sunday under police escort. (AAP: Steven Saphore)

Photo: Mr Phetmang was last seen at a petrol station in South Hurstville on May 25. (Supplied)

Photo: Mr Phetmang body was found by a passing truck driver near Sydney Olympic Park. (ABC News: Supplied)

An American father charged with the murder of a Thai man in western Sydney last year will remain behind bars until his next court appearance at the beginning of June.

Alex Dion, 38, faced Sydney's Central Local Court this morning after he was extradited from California yesterday.

The former tiler is accused of brutally murdering Wachira "Mario" Phetmang, 33, and dumping his body on the side of a busy Sydney freeway on June 6 last year.

Mr Phetmang's body was found bound, gagged and wrapped in plastic material on Homebush Bay Drive by a passing truck driver.

An autopsy revealed the Starbucks employee sustained more than 20 wounds to his head and had multiple skull fractures.

He was last seen getting into a silver car allegedly owned by Mr Dion at a petrol station in South Hurstville on May 25.

According to US court extradition documents, Mr Dion allegedly told police he had met Mr Phetmang there to buy methamphetamine, but had left when their associate showed up.

Police said CCTV footage showed otherwise.

On May 28, clothing, glasses and a cap similar to what Mr Phetmang was seen wearing that night were allegedly found in the bottom of a water tank in East Killara.

Police alleged Mr Dion had previously worked on the property as a tiler.

In a press conference shortly before Mr Dion's matter was heard in court today, Homicide Commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said the pair were known to each other.

"The motive appears unclear at this stage," Superintendent Cook said.

"We know that they were associates of each other, the victim and the offender.

"[But] we don't know details of that relationship."

Police believe Mr Dion returned home to the United States on May 27, but allegedly used Mr Phetmang's credit cards while in California.

When police made a public appeal for help in solving the case, Mr Dion called them and allegedly blamed one of Mr Phetmang's associates for the killing.

The arrest warrant was issued in September while he was already in custody on an unrelated domestic violence charge in San Diego.

The former tiler was represented by his lawyer, but didn't apply for bail when his matter was briefly mentioned at Central Local Court.

Mr Phetmang's mother and sister live at Kiama on the south coast, but didn't attend today's hearing in Sydney.

Mr Dion will face court again on June 11.


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