A former US police officer, sentenced to death for ordering a hitman to murder his wife, is to be executed on Tuesday January 10 in Texas.
Unless justice grants him a last-minute respite, Robert Fratta, 65, will receive a lethal injection this Tuesday evening in Huntsville Penitentiary.
He has been detained since the death in 1994 of his wife Farah Fratta, shot dead in her garage in the suburbs of Houston.
According to court documents, the couple was going through acrimonious divorce proceedings, including over custody of their three children.
1000 dollars for the assassin
On several occasions, Robert Fratta "
asked friends and acquaintances to kill her or to recommend someone likely to kill her
", according to these documents.
He had finally obtained the help of a man registered in his sports club, who had then recruited his neighbor to kill Farah Fratta.
According to local media, Robert Fratta paid him $1,000.
In 1996, he was sentenced to death after a trial finally canceled in 2007 for formal defect.
The sentence was however confirmed in 2009 during a second trial.
Doubt around a witness under hypnosis
As his execution approached, his lawyers multiplied their appeals to try to obtain a reprieve.
They suffered several failures but a request remained in progress at midday before the Supreme Court.
It relates to the interrogation of a witness under hypnosis who, according to them, contradicted his first statements.
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Robert Fratta and two other death row inmates have also taken legal action to challenge Texas' use of lethal products beyond their expiration date.
For them, it violates the US Constitution, which prohibits “
Texas uses pentobarbital, a drug that prison authorities have difficulty obtaining because pharmaceutical companies do not want to be associated with the death penalty.
If Robert Fratta does not win his case, he will be the second death row inmate to be executed in the United States in 2023.