death penalty news—-TEXAS

May 6


Murder retrial of former Missouri City's Fratta begins

Prosecutors this morning told jurors they would hear testimony from at
least 4 men that Robert Fratta tried to hire them to kill his wife, Farah,
before ultimately agreeing to trade a Jeep to Joseph Prystash and pay more
than $1,000 to Howard Guidry for shooting her in 1994.

"As he became angrier and more bitter, Bob Fratta actively began to seek
out someone who would kill her," prosecutor Denise Bradley said during
opening arguments in the death penalty re-trial that packed state District
Judge Belinda Hill's courtroom.

Bradley said Fratta wanted to kill his wife because of a contentious

She said Fratta told a friend, "They may think I did it, but they'll never
be able to prove I did it." Fratta, a former Missouri City public safety
officer, was sentenced to die in 1996, but an appeals court reversed the
conviction because prosecutors used inadmissible confessions of Prystash
and Guidry.

Fratta's defense attorney Vivian King countered saying Fratta was amenable
to the divorce and the custody arrangements of the 3 children and that an
envelope with $1,050 found in Fratta's car was for new carpet.

Farah Fratta was shot as she arrived home from getting her haircut on Nov.
9, 1994. She died in the driveway outside her Atascocita home.

Fratta, Prystash and Guidry were convicted and sentenced to death based on
their admissions and the testimony of Prystash's girlfriend, Mary Gipp.
Guidry was retried and sent back to death row in 2007.

This time prosecutors will have to make do without the confessions or key
portions of Gipp's testimony.

(source: Houston Chronicle)