Texas to execute ex-cop for hiring 2 people to kill wife

HOUSTON (AP) — A former suburban Houston police officer was set to be executed Tuesday for hiring two individuals to kill his estranged spouse practically 30 years in the past.

Robert Fratta, 65, is scheduled to obtain a deadly injection for the November 1994 deadly taking pictures of his spouse, Farah, amid a contentious divorce and custody battle for his or her three youngsters.

Prosecutors say Fratta organized the murder-for-hire plot by which a intermediary, Joseph Prystash, employed the shooter, Howard Guidry. Farah Fratta, 33, was shot twice within the head by Guidry in her dwelling’s storage within the Houston suburb of Atascocita. Robert Fratta, who was a public security officer for Missouri Metropolis, has lengthy claimed he’s harmless.

Prosecutors mentioned Fratta had repeatedly expressed his want to see his spouse lifeless and requested a number of acquaintances in the event that they knew anybody who would kill her, telling one buddy, “I’ll simply kill her, and I’ll do my time and once I get out, I’ll have my youngsters,” in line with court docket information. Prystash and Guidry have been additionally despatched to demise row for the slaying.

Fratta’s attorneys have requested the U.S. Supreme Court docket to halt the execution scheduled for Tuesday night on the state penitentiary in Huntsville, arguing that prosecutors withheld proof {that a} trial witness had been hypnotized by investigators. They are saying that led her to alter her preliminary recollection that she noticed two males on the homicide scene in addition to a getaway driver.

“This might have undermined the State’s case, which trusted simply two males committing the act and trusted linking Fratta to each,” Fratta’s legal professionals wrote of their enchantment to the Supreme Court docket.

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Prosecutors have argued the hypnosis produced no new info and no new identification.

The Supreme Court docket and decrease courts have beforehand rejected appeals from Fratta’s legal professionals that sought to evaluate claims arguing inadequate proof and defective jury directions have been used to convict him. His attorneys additionally unsuccessfully argued that one juror in his case was not neutral and that ballistics proof didn’t tie him to the homicide weapon.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles final week unanimously declined to commute Fratta’s demise sentence to a lesser penalty or to grant a 60-day reprieve.

Fratta is also one among three Texas demise row inmates who has sued to cease the state’s jail system from utilizing what they allege are expired and unsafe execution medication. Final week, Texas’ high felony appeals court docket barred a civil court docket decide from issuing any orders within the lawsuit. A listening to was set for Tuesday.

Fratta was first sentenced to demise in 1996, however his case was overturned by a federal decide who dominated that confessions from his co-conspirators shouldn’t have been admitted into proof. In the identical ruling, the decide wrote that “trial proof confirmed Fratta to be egotistical, misogynistic, and vile, with a callous want to kill his spouse.”

He was retried and resentenced to demise in 2009.

Andy Kahan, director of sufferer providers and advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston and who has helped Farah Fratta’s household in the course of the case, mentioned he plans to witness the execution, conserving a promise he made to Farah Fratta’s father, Lex Baquer, who died in 2018. Baquer and his spouse raised Robert and Farah Fratta’s three youngsters.

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“I don’t count on something to come back out of Bob that might present any sort of admission or any sort of regret as a result of all the pieces has all the time revolved round him,” Kahan mentioned.

The execution shall be a manner for the kids “to proceed to maneuver on with their lives and on the very least they received’t have to consider him anymore. I believe that may play an essential half of their therapeutic,” he mentioned.

Fratta could be the primary inmate put to demise this yr in Texas and the second within the U.S. Eight different executions are scheduled in Texas for later this yr.

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Observe Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: twitter.com/juanlozano70