In the midst of a difficult divorce and child custody dispute, a former suburban Houston police officer who hired two others to kill his estranged wife over 30 years ago was killed on Tuesday.
At the state prison in Huntsville, Robert Fratta, 65, was given a lethal injection as punishment for shooting his wife Farah to death in November 1994. 24 minutes after the deadly dose of the potent sedative pentobarbital started running into his arms, he was declared dead at 7:49 p.m.
Fratta was strapped to the death chamber gurney with intravenous needles in each arm when Barry Brown, his spiritual advisor, prayed over him for roughly three minutes prior to the execution.
Brown called for prayers for “hearts that have been broken… for persons who grieved and those who will grieve in the days ahead” while placing his prayer book on the cushion next to Fratta’s head and placing his right hand on Fratta’s right hand. “Be merciful to Bobby,” he prayed.
The warden asked Fratta if he had a closing comment, to which Fratta answered, “No.”
As the fatal medicines started to take effect, Brown resumed his prayer while Fratta closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and snored loudly six times. Then all motion came to an end.
According to the prosecution, Fratta planned the murder-for-hire scheme in which Howard Guidry, the gunman, was hired through an intermediary named Joseph Prystash. In the garage of her home in the Houston neighborhood of Atascocita, Farah Fratta, 33, was shot twice in the head by Guidry. Public safety officer Robert Fratta of Missouri City had long maintained his innocence.
Little more than an hour passed before the sentence was carried out after the final of a flurry of last-minute appeals was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fratta’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued that prosecutors withheld evidence indicating an eyewitness to the trial had been hypnotized by detectives, changing her initial memory that she had seen two men at the murder scene along with a getaway driver.
According to court documents, the prosecution claimed that Fratta had repeatedly expressed his desire to see his wife dead and inquired of friends and acquaintances as to whether they knew anyone who could execute her. He allegedly told one friend, “I’ll just kill her, and I’ll do my time, and when I get out, I’ll have my kids.” For the murder, Prystash and Guidry were also placed on death row.
Fratta was one of four death row convicts in Texas who filed a lawsuit to prevent the use of allegedly hazardous and outdated execution medications by the state’s prison system. Late Tuesday, that complaint was also dismissed.
In the past, the Supreme Court and lower courts rejected appeals by Fratta’s attorneys who attempted to explore arguments that the jury verdict was based on insufficient evidence and flawed jury instructions. Additionally, his defenders tried failed to discredit the jury’s objectivity and the ballistic evidence linking him to the murder weapon.
Last Thursday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles overwhelmingly rejected Fratta’s request to have his death sentence reduced or to offer him a 60-day reprieve.
Fratta was first given a death sentence in 1996, but a federal judge overturned that judgment after concluding that his co-conspirators’ confessions should not have been allowed to be used as evidence. The trial evidence revealed Fratta to be egocentric, sexist, and cruel, with a callous wish to kill his wife, the judge stated in the same sentence.
In 2009, he has tried again and given a new death sentence.
Farah Fratta’s father, Lex Baquer, who passed away in 2018, reared his wife and the three children of Robert and Farah Fratta, according to Andy Kahan, the director of victim services and advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston.
One of the witnesses to Fratta’s demise was Kahan, along with Bradley Baquer, Fratta’s son, and Zain Baquer, Farah’s brother. They were watching the execution room through a window, but Fratta never recognized them or even glanced at them.
After the execution, Kahan remarked, “Bob was a coward in 1994 when he orchestrated the murder for hire of his estranged wife.” And tonight, after more than 28 years, he acted like a coward. when he was given the chance to at least make a gesture of goodwill toward his son, who he knew was watching this.
And yet he went with the cowardly course of action. He had the option of saying, “I’m sorry.
Fratta was the second prisoner executed in the United States and the first in Texas this year. Later this year, Texas is expected to carry out another eight executions.
- A $15k Surprise Gift From A Stranger Makes An Autistic Piano Prodigy Famous
- Las Vegas Teen Who Died At An Athletic Event Had Her Cause Of Death Identified