One week after a California-native is hacked to death by his cabbie in Thailand, part of his grieving family in San Joaquin county spoke only to FOX40.
“We actually couldn’t believe it. We thought it was some sort of a prank,” said Joseph Pilkington.
That was the only thing Joseph Pilkington of Stockton could hope for once the brutality of what happened to his nephew began to spread through the family one week ago.
Once he knew it was real – that his brother’s oldest child Troy had been killed in Thailand by a machete-wielding cabbie. He was crushed.
“It’s just … kind of a sorrow of a wasted life,” he said.
Now relatives are left to remember Troy, who they called “Chip” in happier times, fishing in Alaska and horseback riding.
“He was the good guy,” said his aunt Marilyn Pilkington.
A good guy – hosting his wife’s whole family in his home and paying for private school for his sister-in law’s kids. Troy was also an Army veteran who once ran lifts at Kirkwood and lived in Pioneer.
He’d worked as a senior official for Caterpillar Thailand for three years and found a bride in Bangkok two years ago. He got out of a cab there on July 6 because he felt cabbie Cherdchai Utmacha was rigging the meter.
It’s something that had happened to family who visited there in the past.
“‘Dumb Americans are in here, I can jack up the fare’ kind of thing,” she said.
His uncle says refusing to be cheated sounds just like his nephew.
” He could be a stickler and I think that might have been what happened on this. It was the principle,” he said.
What doesn’t sound like Troy to his family?
Reports linked to a police reenactment of the crime that indicate Troy ran at the cabbie, forcing him to defend himself once they argued over the fare.
The Pilkingtons also say Troy gave the man the equivalent of $1 in U.S. currency for the ride – not the elevated $1.60 he felt was being unfairly demanded.
They feel Troy’s being misrepresented as “the ugly American.”
“No, 100 percent sure it’s not ‘the ugly American,’” Marilyn Pilkington said in defense of Troy.
And after our first story about Troy’s murder, they say they wanted to reach out to FOX40 because other media outlets are treating this story differently than if an American had killed a Thai.
“Murdered in the same manner with a machete in the U.S., it would be an international incident. It offends me there’s been so little recognition of it. A man’s life is lost. He was a good man,” his aunt said.
The cabbie in this case has been arrested and confessed to the killing but is claiming self-defense.