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This former police officer hired two hit men to kill his wife. Texas punished him with the lethal injection


Robert Fratta, 65, was described by a judge as a "selfish, misogynistic and vile man, with an insensitive desire to kill his wife" Farah, 33, who was shot twice in the head on commission, in the home garage.

By Juan A. Lozano and Michael Graczyk -

The Associated Press

A former Houston (Texas) police officer was executed Tuesday for hiring two people to kill his wife, from whom he had been separated for nearly 30 years, amid a contentious divorce and child custody battle. .

Robert Fratta, 65, received a lethal injection at Huntsville State Penitentiary for the November 1994 murder of his wife, Farah. He was pronounced dead at 7:49 p.m. local time, 24 minutes after he the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began to flow down his arms.

For about three minutes before the execution began, Fratta's spiritual adviser, Barry Brown, prayed for him.

The inmate lay strapped to the gurney in the death chamber with intravenous needles in each arm.

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Brown, with his prayer book on the pillow next to Fratta's head and his right hand resting on the prisoner's right, asked to pray for "the hearts that have broken...for the people who cried and for those who they will cry in the days to come.”

And he asked God to be "merciful to Bobby."

When Fratta was asked if he wanted to say any last words before being executed, he replied: "No."

Robert Fratta, a former suburban Houston police officer, on death row. Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Brown resumed his prayer as they began injecting him with the lethal drugs.

Fratta, with her eyes closed, took a deep breath and immediately began to emit loud snores six times.

Then she ceased all movement in her body.

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Prosecutors allege that Fratta organized the murder-for-hire plot in which a middleman, Joseph Prystash, hired the shooter, Howard Guidry.

Farah Fratta, 33, was shot twice in the head in the garage of his home in the Houston suburb of Atascocita.

Robert Fratta, who was a Missouri City public safety officer, had long claimed he was innocent.

The execution was delayed for just over an hour on Tuesday as multiple last-minute appeals were reviewed by various courts.

Fratta's lawyers argued unsuccessfully that prosecutors concealed evidence that a trial witness had been hypnotized by investigators, prompting her to change her initial recollection that she saw two men at the crime scene, as well as a driver who fled the scene.

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Fratta was also one of four Texas death row inmates who sued to stop the state's prison system from using what they say are expired and unsafe drugs for executions.

That lawsuit also failed late Tuesday.

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The Supreme Court and lower courts previously rejected several appeals by Fratta's lawyers, who allege insufficient evidence and erroneous jury instructions were given to convict their client.

His lawyers also argued unsuccessfully that a juror in the case was biased and that ballistics evidence did not link the defendant to the murder weapon.

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Last week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously refused to commute Fratta's death sentence to a lesser sentence or grant him a 60-day reprieve.

Fratta was first sentenced to death in


but his sentence was overturned by a federal judge who ruled that the confessions of his accomplices should not have been admitted as evidence.

In the same ruling, the judge wrote that "the trial evidence showed that Fratta was

selfish, misogynistic and vile, with a callous desire to kill his wife

. "

Then, in 2009, he was tried again and sentenced to death.

Andy Kahan, director of victim services and advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston, said Farah Fratta's father, Lex Baquer, who died in 2018, raised Robert and Farah Fratta's three children with his wife.

Kahan, Fratta's son Bradley Baquer and Farah's brother Zain Baquer were among the witnesses who saw Fratta die.

He did not look at them as they stood by a window that overlooked the execution chamber.

“Bob was a coward in 1994 when he commissioned the murder of his estranged wife,” Kahan said after the execution.

“And more than 28 years later, tonight, he was still a coward.

He could have said: 'I'm sorry,' he said of the condemned man's decision not to say any last words.

Fratta was the first inmate to be executed this year in Texas and the second in the United States.

There are another eight executions scheduled in that state by the end of 2023.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-12

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