Ex-Cop Executed for Murdering Wife


This booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Robert Fratta, a former suburban Houston police officer on death row. | Image by Texas Department of Criminal Justice, AP

A former police officer in suburban Houston was executed Tuesday after he was convicted of hiring men to kill his wife more than 30 years ago.

Robert Fratta, 65, was pronounced dead at 7:49 p.m., precisely 24 minutes after being administered a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, NBC 5 DFW reported.

Fratta was strapped to a gurney with each arm hooked to intravenous needles as a spiritual advisor was present to pray over him prior to the execution being carried out.

Fratta, a former public safety officer in Missouri, was convicted of the 1994 shooting of his wife, Farah Fratta.

Fratta, who was first sentenced to death in 1996, had his original conviction overturned by a federal judge who ruled that confessions from his co-conspirators should not have been admitted into evidence. Fratta was retried and convicted in 2009. He was again sentenced to death following this conviction.

The execution was delayed for less than an hour while appeals circulated through the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Texas Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Fratta claimed that the prosecution withheld evidence during the trial, including an allegation that a key witness was hypnotized by investigators.

Fratta’s lawyers tried to argue that the witness changed her mind about what she saw the day of the murder, including there being two gunmen and a getaway driver, but prosecutors argued that the hypnosis produced no new information and no new identification.

But prosecutors cited Fratta’s repeated claims of a desire to kill his wife, reportedly telling a friend, “I’ll just kill her, and I’ll do my time and when I get out, I’ll have my kids.”

Last week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously against granting Fratta any commutation of his death sentence or a 60-day reprieve.

Farah Fratta, 33, was shot twice in the head in her home’s garage in Atascocita, a suburb outside of  Houston.

Prosecutors said Robert Fratta organized the murder through a middleman, Joseph Prystash, who in turn hired Howard Guidry as the shooter.

Prystash and Guidry are also on death row for their respective roles in the killing.

Fratta had claimed he was innocent for a long time afterward.

Andy Kahan, the director of victim services and advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston; Fratta’s son, Bradley Baquer; and Farah’s brother, Zain Baquer, were among the witnesses who watched Fratta die.

Fratta did not acknowledge or look at them, and he declined to give a final statement before the execution was carried out.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, murders have spiked recently, with a string of homicides in November, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The number of murders for November was a 100% increase over the previous month.

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