Custom Search

Friday, May 15, 2009

[TX] Ex-Officer Fratta found guilty again of capital murder in hit-man death of his wife Farah

... The prosecution says it was Fratta's own gun that Guidry used to shoot Farah Fratta. "He didn't actually pull the trigger, but it was his bullet that tore through her brain"...

Previous post:
[TX] Ex-Officer Fratta getting new wife-murder-plot trial

(Please see the comments section for excerpts of older articles)

Ex-cop convicted of hiring hitmen to kill wife
The Associated Press
May 15, 2009, 3:59PM
[Excerpts] HOUSTON - A former suburban [Missouri City] Houston police officer was found guilty of capital murder Friday for hiring two hitmen to kill his estranged wife 15 years ago. A jury returned a guilty verdict Friday in the retrial of 52-year-old Robert Fratta, who prosecutors said was motivated by money and bitter custody battle. Fratta now will again face the death penalty. The sentencing phase of the trial is set for May 26. It was the second time Fratta has been convicted of the 1994 murder of Farah Fratta. The former Missouri City police officer was originally convicted of the crime in 1996 and sentenced to death but was granted a retrial after the jailhouse confessions of his co-conspirators were ruled inadmissible. Farah Fratta, 33, was found dead in the garage of her home in November 1994, shot twice in the head... Prosecutors said Fratta had his wife killed after she filed for divorce and tried to collect on her life insurance policy days after her death. Payment for her death was to be $1,000 and a Jeep... The man named as the triggerman, Howard Paul Guidry, was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death. He was granted a new trial, was tried in 2007, convicted and sentenced to death a second time. A third defendant, Joseph Prystash, who prosecutors said Fratta enlisted to hire Guidry, also is on death row. [Full article here]


Ex-cop awaits jury's decision
ABC13 (KTRK)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
[Excerpts] ...The prosecution admitted much of the evidence against Robert Fratta is circumstantial. Assistant Harris County District Attorney Mia Magness told the jury their deliberations should be like a puzzle. You don't need all the pieces to see the whole picture. Magness said Fratta's demeanor in 1994 after the murder of his wife Farah Fratta is compelling. "The man comes up on the scene, he doesn't ask, 'Is she OK? Is she still alive?' He doesn't get upset. He doesn't cry. He doesn't get choked up. He's not worried for the kids," Magness explained. "His position is, 'Can we hurry this up?' And then later on, 'I'm hungry'"... The prosecution says it was Fratta's own gun that Guidry used to shoot Farah Fratta. That's a gun Mary Gipp testified she saw her boyfriend Joseph Prystash carry the day of the murder. At the time, she wrote down the weapon's serial number... "He didn't actually pull the trigger, but it was his bullet that tore through her brain," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Denise Bradley. "It was Bob Fratta who put it all in action and it was Bob Fratta who killed his wife"... [Full article here]

GUILTY VERDICT VIDEOS:

[TX] (1) EX-COP FRATTA GUILTY AGAIN OF PLOT THAT KILLED WIFE FARAH


[TX] (2) EX-COP FRATTA GUILTY AGAIN OF PLOT THAT KILLED WIFE FARAH


[TX] (3) EX-COP FRATTA GUILTY AGAIN - VERDICT READ


TRIAL VIDEOS:


[TX] It was bullet from ex officer Frattas gun that killed his wife Farah

[TX] Ex Officer Fratta approached gym buddies to kill wife Farah

[TX] Gym buddies say ex cop Fratta approached them to kill wife Farah

[TX] Ex cop Fratta hired kill of wife trial - killer's ex-girlfriend testifies

[TX] Friends of slain cop's wife Farah Fratta testify at retrial

[TX] Ex Officer Fratta's son Bradley Baquer testies what he remembers

[TX] Ex Police Officer Fratta murder-hit on wife trial - reenactment for the jury

[TX] Closing arguments begin in ex Officer Fratta murder-hit on wife Farah trial (1)

[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder for hire plot texas state]

15 comments:

  1. ======================
    ...Testimony showed that Farah Fratta had been forced to undergo plastic surgery to please her husband. She finally balked at his insistence that she perform certain sex acts, and she sought a divorce...
    ======================
    ...Fratta, a former Missouri City public safety officer, apparently insisted years ago that his wife undergo cosmetic surgery to alter her breasts and nose...
    ======================
    ...Farah Fratta decided she had had enough and sought a divorce. In response, her husband declared, "She'll never divorce me. She's mine and I'm not going to let someone else have what I paid for"...
    ======================
    ...Robert Fratta has scant appreciation of other people's feelings and views women as "little girls" who can easily be dominated, a psychologist testified...
    ======================
    ...Fratta enjoyed and was known for excremental sexual activities - preferences that previous witnesses said caused his marriage to collapse...
    ======================

    ReplyDelete
  2. MAN QUIZZED IN ESTRANGED WIFE'S DEATH
    Woman is slain in Atascocita
    FRI 11/11/1994
    Investigation into the shooting death of an Atascocita woman centered Thursday on her estranged husband -- a law enforcement officer who detectives say refuses to cooperate with them... Witnesses told detectives they saw a silver or gray car with a hatchback leaving Fratta's house shortly after the gunshots were heard. The car had one headlight and carried two men who appeared to be dressed in black... Fratta said he was taking the children to church at the time... [Sheriff's department Sgt. John] Denholm admits to being frustrated by Fratta's uncooperative stance. "He's just been real amused by this whole thing," the officer told reporters...

    OFFICER SUSPENDED
    WED 11/16/1994
    Missouri City public safety Officer Robert Alan Fratta, 37, being questioned in his estranged wife's murder, has been suspended with pay pending...

    PARENTS OF SLAIN WOMAN OFFER REWARD FOR LEADS ON HER KILLER
    WED 11/23/1994
    The parents of a slain Atascocita mother of three young children offered a $5,000 reward Tuesday for information about her killer or killers... Robert Alan Fratta, a firefighter and public service officer in Missouri City, is suspected of hiring killers to murder his wife.... In addition to the family's $5,000 reward, another $1,000 reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers of Houston...

    CUSTODY HEARING TODAY
    FRI 12/02/1994
    [Excerpts] A court hearing will be held today regarding custody of the three children of Farah Fratta... A joint temporary conservatorship of the children, 9, 6 and 4, was granted to her estranged husband, Robert, and to her parents, Lex and Betty Baquer. Fratta has daily visitation rights...

    LAWYERS IN CUSTODY CASE LINK MAN TO WIFE'S DEATH
    SAT 12/03/1994
    ...Robert Fratta, 37, has been seeking custody of the three children... "I know that, whichever way I go in this case, I am in error," Hinojosa said at the hearing. "But I would rather err on the side of the children." The judge conceded that he may "be committing a serious injustice" to the father, but he was keeping the children with the grandparents "out of an abundance of caution" until the conclusion of the criminal investigation...

    WITNESSES SAY HUSBAND ASKED THEM TO KILL WIFE
    THU 12/15/1994
    Five witnesses in a child custody hearing testified Wednesday that Missouri City public service officer Robert Fratta asked them if they or others would take money to kill his estranged wife. Most of those associates said they thought Fratta was only kidding... Testimony in the hearing, which resumes today, covered Fratta's alleged search in posh body-building spas for contract killers for $3,000. It also delved into accusations that the law officer lusted for bizarre sexual activity - both at the Fratta home and in gay, lesbian, and transvestite haunts of Houston... The murder plots were just products of his sense of humor, his attorney argued... His alleged motive for the murder, witnesses said, was to end the 2-year-old custody battle with his estranged wife and his accompanying child support payments.... Witnesses also told of Fratta allowing the children to play with live ammunition...

    JUDGE RULES FRATTA NOT FIT TO KEEP CHILDREN
    Conduct, judgment called "impaired'
    FRI 12/16/1994
    A judge Thursday awarded custody of three children to their grandparents, finding that their father -- Missouri City public service officer Robert Fratta -- had involvement in the killing of their mother... He has a prior suspension for sexual harassment from his job as a Missouri City police officer and firefighter... None of the ruling was based on the testimony about Fratta's lust for lurid sexual encounters, including three-way trysts, Hinojosa said. But the judge said that, in 23 years of family oriented legal work, he had "never heard this degree of depravity and bizarre sexual behavior"... Betty Baquer cried and was comforted by her husband. "He is a monster," she said of her former son-in-law. "It was so very hard hearing how my daughter had to suffer and endure her pain from this man"...

    ReplyDelete
  3. FIRING IN MISSOURI CITY
    WED 12/21/1994
    Missouri City public safety Officer Robert Alan Fratta, 37, was fired from his job in this Fort Bend County city....

    FRATTA WAS HIT TARGET, POLICE SAY/MAN IS CHARGED IN PLANNING DEATH
    SAT 12/24/1994
    A Huffman man was charged Friday with trying to arrange the murder of Robert Fratta, a former Missouri City public safety officer suspected of planning his wife's death. William Edward Planter, was being held in Harris County Jail Friday night in lieu of $20,000 bond. Planter, 47, is accused of trying to enlist Fratta's father-in-law, Lex Baquer, Thursday in killing Fratta...

    FORMER DEPUTY'S MOTIVES UNKNOWN/OFFER TO KILL SUSPECT PROBED
    THU 12/29/1994
    A former law enforcement officer charged with offering to kill the prime suspect in a murder investigation apparently did not know the people involved, and the motive for the alleged offer still is unknown, detectives said Wednesday... [William Edward] Planter was a Harris County sheriff's deputy from 1973 to 1975. He was chief of police in Splendora from 1978 to 1979, and chief of police in Roman Forest from 1979 to 1982... Sources said Planter has operated for years on the "fringes" of law enforcement, and may have made the offer out of some misguided sense of justice or public service.

    2 CHARGED IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE SCHEME
    TUE 03/14/1995
    Two men were charged with capital murder Monday in what investigators say was a murder-for-hire scheme to kill Farah Fratta, the wife of a former Missouri City law enforcement officer. One of the accused, Joseph Andrew Prystash, is a former workout partner of Robert Alan Fratta... Charged along with Prystash, 38... was Howard Paul Guidry, 18... Detectives have been conducting an intense investigation since the murder and recently were able to persuade friends of Prystash and Guidry to talk to detectives. Witnesses have told detectives Prystash had been bragging about the slaying...

    GUN DISCOVERY TIED TO VICTIM'S HUSBAND
    WED 03/15/1995
    A gun found in the home of one of two suspects in the alleged hired killing of Farah Fratta was traced back to her estranged husband, Robert.. A girlfriend of suspect Joseph Andrew Prystash... apparently obtained information about that weapon for detectives...

    FRATTA SET TO FACE CONTEMPT CHARGES
    THU 03/16/1995
    Robert Fratta, suspected of hiring two hit men to kill his estranged wife, is to return to court today to face charges of contempt of court for allegedly failing to support his three children...

    FRATTA ORDERED TO PAY $3,000 IN CHILD SUPPORT
    FRI 03/17/1995
    A judge found Robert Fratta in contempt Thursday for refusing to pay child support while he held $23,000 for attorney fees for his defense against expected charges of having his estranged wife murdered... He began the hearing pleading poverty...

    FRATTA PAYS COURT-ORDERED SUPPORT FOR HIS 3 CHILDREN
    SAT 03/18/1995
    Robert Fratta paid court-ordered support for his three children after facing contempt charges for refusing to pay the amount... He paid the amount Thursday afternoon... Fratta received $23,600 after his firing. That came from cashing in his retirement plan and unused vacation and sick leave time.

    FRATTA CHARGED WITH ARRANGING WIFE'S DEATH
    SAT 04/22/1995
    Former Missouri City public safety officer Robert Fratta was arrested Friday and charged with arranging the murder of his estranged wife... Early this week, Fratta took the Baquers back to court seeking to have the court-ordered child-support payments reduced. Fratta complained that publicity surrounding his wife's murder had ruined his reputation and made it impossible for him to work. He failed to sway a judge... "He's not quite so cocky now," one detective said as Fratta was led away to the Harris County Jail.

    ReplyDelete
  4. FRATTA DENIED BOND
    TUE 04/25/1995
    A judge Monday refused to grant bond to a former Missouri City public safety officer charged with soliciting the Nov. 9 capital slaying of his estranged wife at her Atascocita home. Visiting state District Judge Woody Densen ordered Robert Alan Fratta, 38, returned to Harris County Jail without bond...

    BOND SET FOR EX-OFFICIAL
    FRI 05/05/1995
    A judge Thursday set a $100,000 bond for a former Missouri City public safety officer charged with soliciting the Nov. 9 capital slaying of the mother of his three children...

    EX-OFFICER INDICTED IN PLOT TO KILL WIFE/2 OTHERS CHARGED IN FULFILLING MURDER
    SAT 06/03/1995
    Former Missouri City public safety officer Robert Fratta was indicted Friday on capital charges for soliciting the murder of his wife. Jurors also indicted Joseph Andrew Prystash and Howard Paul Guidry for capital murder for killing Farah Fratta at her husband's bidding... The evidence against Fratta has mounted steadily...

    FRATTA HIT WITH MURDER INDICTMENT
    THU 06/29/1995
    Former Missouri City public safety officer Robert Fratta, charged nine weeks ago with conspiring to kill his estranged wife, was indicted Wednesday on a charge of capital murder...

    FRATTA GRANTED $350,000 BOND IN SHOOTING DEATH
    FRI 07/14/1995
    Former Missouri City public safety officer Robert Fratta was granted a $350,000 bond Thursday on charges involving the Nov. 9 contract killing of his wife... Even though [state District Judge Joe] Kegans set a $250,000 bond on the capital charge and a $100,000 bond on the solicitation of capital murder case, Fratta's lawyers and relatives said there is only a "slim" chance of him being released. "We'll try, but I don't know at this point," his sister, Jill Fratta, said. Defense attorney Richard Frankoff said one reason Fratta cannot post bond is because he was ordered in a domestic relations court to pay $9,800 in child support for his three children just before his arrest on the solicitation case. "We think it was done that way because they wanted to drain him of all his resources so he couldn't raise a proper defense," Frankoff said...

    TESTIMONY TO BEGIN IN CAPITAL MURDER TRIAL
    FRATTA ALLEGEDLY ARRANGED WIFE'S SLAYING
    TUE 04/09/1996
    Prosecutors will begin presenting the first of 40 witnesses today... His self-indulgent, vanity-driven lifestyle was dissected in December 1994 in a civil court, where he went to fight his former in-laws over custody of the children... Lex Baquer said he and his wife are "letting the case take its natural course... Obviously, we do have a lot of pain for the wrong that was done... There is not a moment that I don't think of her. I cry for her every day. I can't bring her back, but I hope justice will prevail."

    FRATTA TRIAL TURNS LURID ON FIRST DAY
    Deviant sexual acts reportedly sought
    WED 04/10/1996
    Farah Fratta gave her husband Robert almost everything he wanted: Three kids, her devotion and a body sculpted by surgeons to please him. But when she chose divorce rather than bend to her husband's pressure to engage in deviant sex acts, or to accept an "open" marriage, he had her killed, according to testimony on the first day of Fratta's capital murder trial Tuesday... "He made disgusting, revolting sexual demands she could not meet"... Fratta, a former Missouri City public safety officer, apparently insisted years ago that his wife undergo cosmetic surgery to alter her breasts and nose, according to testimony. In March 1992, after almost 10 years of marriage, Farah Fratta decided she had had enough and sought a divorce. In response, her husband declared, "She'll never divorce me. She's mine and I'm not going to let someone else have what I paid for"... James Beeler, an attorney who had represented Farah Fratta, said her husband spoke openly about his boredom with traditional marital sex and was explicit in his desires to see his wife in lesbian or three-way affairs. He said Farah Fratta's main reason for wanting a divorce was his relentless effort to get her to perform disgusting sexual acts...

    GUN TIED FRATTA TO SLAYING, POLICE SAY
    Officers say husband was always a suspect
    FRI 04/12/1996
    ...Farah Fratta's accused hired killers, Joseph Prystash and Howard Guidry, had little in common but an apartment complex, criminal minds and a smoking habit... Guidry said Prystash, his neighbor, offered him $1,000 to be the triggerman. Armed with pagers, cellular phones and a gun provided by Fratta, they set out... About 8 p.m., Farah Fratta pulled into the driveway. As Fratta left her car, Guidry closed in and shot her once, then shot her again at close range after she screamed. Prystash then got a call. "It's done," Guidry said. The two men pulled away before officers arrived. They were arrested four months later. Fratta was charged shortly thereafter...

    ReplyDelete
  5. FRATTA PLANNED TO SHOOT WIFE HIMSELF, WITNESS SAYS
    SAT 04/13/1996
    After searching for someone to kill his wife, Robert Fratta said he planned to shoot her himself and fake it to look like a carjacking, one of Fratta's former workout partners testified Friday... [Witness Jimmy] Podhorsky, a tree-service worker who knew Fratta from health spa workout sessions, said his friend began telling "all sorts of far-fetched stories" about who was responsible for Farah Fratta's killing. Fratta, a former Missouri City public safety officer, even claimed that one of her relatives did it to collect insurance money... Fratta sounded out many people while seeking an assassin, testimony suggested, including another body-builder, Mike Edens, 33, a Continental Airlines worker who bought a nonsteroid protein drink from Fratta. Edens indicated that Fratta hounded him to find someone to "knock my wife off." "I told him I couldn't find anybody," Edens testified, adding that he said it to "get him off my back." Testimony in the trial has indicated that Fratta wanted his wife killed because of a bitter child-custody dispute that he was on the verge of losing, and because he didn't want to have to pay child support...

    WITNESS IN FRATTA TRIAL TELLS ABOUT SHELL CASINGS
    TUE 04/16/1996
    The girlfriend of the man accused of helping arrange the killing of Farah Fratta told a jury Monday that she watched him return home after the shooting and unload spent shell casings from his revolver. In often hesitant testimony, Mary Gipp, an office manager, said she asked her housemate, Joseph Andrew Prystash, if Fratta, 33, was dead. He replied that she was. "He said that Howard (Guidry) was waiting for her at the garage and that he (Guidry) shot her once in the head and then he drew back and shot her again," she testified... Even though she said she had heard talk for weeks of Fratta trying to get Prystash to kill Farah Fratta and was told afterward that it had happened, Gipp said she allowed Prystash to keep living in her home and never informed the police or the intended victim. But Gipp said she did take some precautions. She retrieved from her trash the two spent hulls Prystash removed from his Charter Arms revolver, and she later located the pistol and jotted down its serial number. "Why did you write it down, Mary?" prosecutor Casey O'Brien asked her. "Because I knew he'd done wrong," she answered, suggesting she sensed the information might be useful in the future... Defense lawyers John Ackerman and Mike Charlton began the defense case with eight witnesses, and much of the questioning revolved around evidence that Fratta enjoyed and was known for excremental sexual activities - preferences that previous witnesses said caused his marriage to collapse...

    FRATTA HOLDS DIM VIEW OF WOMEN, EXPERT SAYS
    WED 04/17/1996
    Capital murder defendant Robert Fratta has scant appreciation of other people's feelings and views women as "little girls" who can easily be dominated, a psychologist testified Tuesday. Clinical psychologist Laurence Abrams, testifying as a prosecution witness, said Fratta, a former Missouri City firefighter, wanted an "open marriage" with wife Farah and scouted around bars for a woman to have sex with the couple...

    JURY FINDS FRATTA GUILTY OF PLOTTING WIFE'S MURDER
    THU 04/18/1996
    A jury took less than an hour Wednesday to convict Robert Fratta of arranging his wife's murder... Fratta, convicted of capital murder, could be sentenced to death by injection or a life prison term with at least 40 years before parole eligibility... The jury took 50 minutes to return a conviction... Fratta's attempt to collect on his wife's life insurance policy just two days after her death was telling, Siegler said. A total of $235,000 in benefits was due on her death, Siegler said, but to Fratta's dismay he discovered that his wife had made her children the sole beneficiaries.

    IN PUNISHMENT PHASE, MOTHER OF VICTIM LABELS FRATTA A `MONSTER'
    SAT 04/20/1996
    Robert Fratta, convicted of arranging the slaying of his estranged wife, was denounced Friday as a "monster" by the victim's mother [Betty Baquer]... Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning... Robin Kazmaroff, 40, who bagged groceries with Fratta 20 years ago, said he came to Houston once a couple of years ago and was given a tour of the city. He recalled that Fratta's young son fell off a dock and his old friend jumped into 10-feet-deep water to rescue the child. Kazmaroff was the sole defense character witness to have met Farah Fratta.

    DELIBERATIONS TO RESUME IN FRATTA SENTENCING
    TUE 04/23/1996
    A jury was sequestered late Monday after failing to decide whether Robert Fratta deserved life in prison or the death penalty for arranging to have his wife murdered. Deliberations will resume this morning... Testimony showed that Farah Fratta had been forced to undergo plastic surgery to please her husband. She finally balked at his insistence that she perform certain sex acts, and she sought a divorce...

    FRATTA RECEIVES ULTIMATE PENALTY
    WED 04/24/1996
    Jurors could have given Robert Fratta life in prison, but instead they decided he should die for setting up his wife's murder. The panel rejected the defense's "mitigating circumstance" argument...

    ReplyDelete
  6. JURY SENTENCES FRATTA TO DIE FOR WIFE'S KILLING
    WED 04/24/1996
    A jury's answers to three questions Tuesday added up to a death sentence for Robert Fratta... One juror hung his head and cried as visiting state District Judge Bob Burdette read the jury's answers aloud. Others shifted uneasily in their chairs. In answering the questions that determined whether Fratta would be sentenced to death or to life in prison, jurors found that Fratta was likely to commit violent crimes in the future and that he was guilty of murdering his wife even though someone else pulled the trigger... With each answer, Gloria Fratta crouched deeper in her seat behind her son and caught her tears in a tattered tissue. Robert Fratta stood with his head bowed but did not appear to cry. For Lex and Betty Baquer, the parents of Farah Fratta, the verdict was bittersweet. They said death was the only fitting punishment for their former son-in-law, but the execution would cause still more pain for their grandchildren. "No punishment could justify our grief," Lex Baquer said with tears in his eyes. "The least he can do now is apologize to his children"... Bradley Fratta, 9, was a key witness for the prosecution. A blond version of his father, Bradley took the stand and provided the information that placed his father at a cafeteria, and also getting paged and using a phone there. His testimony was significant to substantiating testimony from detectives who related details given them by the accused killers. Before sending the jury out to deliberate Monday, defense attorney John Ackerman suggested that choosing death for Robert Fratta might burden Bradley with guilt by association. But Lex Baquer said later that Bradley has made his peace with what has happened thus far. Baquer said he expects the youngster to process news of the death sentence with the same hard earned maturity. He said his grandson shared these comments with him the night before: "I don't care if my daddy stays in jail forever. Daddy lied to me. He paid the bad guys to kill mommy."

    CONFLICT IN EMOTION
    For Fratta children, healing will hurt
    FRI 04/26/1996
    Robert Fratta's murder trial has ended but the healing process for his children - who lost their mother to violence and now their father to prison - has just begun. Child psychology experts say the youngsters - ages 9, 7 and 5 - probably have conflicting emotions... For instance, Bradley Fratta, the oldest child, said he didn't care "if my daddy stays in jail forever," just days after he smiled and waved at his father in the courtroom. "Children may feel betrayed, but it doesn't mean they stop loving the person who brought the hurt," said Joan Anderson, a clinical psychologist who specializes in children. "In this case, the children are going to permanently love their father"... Amber Fratta, who was 3 when her mother was slain, has some difficulty fully understanding what has happened, Lex Baquer said. "She thinks mom has gone to heaven and is coming back," he said, adding that the girl once begged him to bring her mother back so she could give her "one more hug." Amber Fratta, who is in kindergarten, falls asleep each night embracing a framed photo of her with her mother, Baquer said. "She used to talk to that picture. It was heart-breaking"... Baquer said Daniel, 7, and Bradley stoically share memories of their mother, such as recalling her favorite songs when they're played on the radio...

    MAN WHO SAID HE'D KILL FRATTA IS SENT TO PRISON
    FRI 05/10/1996
    A jury sentenced a man to 17 years in prison Thursday for offering to kill Robert Fratta... The jury in state District Judge Brian Rains' court on Wednesday convicted Bill Planter of soliciting capital murder for offering to kill Robert Fratta...

    MURDER PLANS KNOWN, WITNESS SAYS
    Woman testifies in Fratta slaying
    TUE 07/02/1996
    A woman who might have been able to save Farah Fratta's life testified Monday that she knew about her boyfriend's plans to have Fratta killed days before she was shot to death... Gipp was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony, which often left an awkward silence in the courtroom. Fratta's parents were among those in attendance. Gipp admitted during her hour-long testimony that she was home when Prystash and Guidry prepared to leave on the night of the murder - dressed all in black. "I knew where he (Prystash) was going," she said... Gipp had met Farah Fratta a couple of times and knew Robert Fratta from a gym...

    JURY QUICKLY CONVICTS MURDER MIDDLEMAN IN PLOT WITH FRATTA
    TUE 07/09/1996
    In 17 minutes, a jury convicted Joseph Prystash of capital murder Monday for arranging the killing of Farah Fratta...

    GIRLFRIEND TELLS HOW PRYSTASH SCARED VICTIM
    WED 07/10/1996
    Five months before Farah Fratta was killed, a masked Joseph Prystash broke into her home and tried to frighten her into dropping her fight for custody of her three children, Prystash's girlfriend testified Tuesday. Mary Gipp's testimony came in the punishment phase of Prystash's capital murder trial... Gipp said that after breaking into the house through a window, Prystash confronted Fratta while she was in bed with the three young children... Prystash told her that he and Fratta's husband, Robert Fratta, had discussed ways to frighten Fratta's estranged wife... Gipp testified Tuesday that Prystash had told her he had drilled a small hole in a rear window to get into the house. Prystash recounted that upon entering the home, he found Fratta in her bedroom with her children... "He said the children started screaming"... Fratta told her children to go to their rooms, Gipp said she was told. Although prosecutors pressed her, Gipp said Prystash did not tell her what happened during the confrontation. "Bob (Fratta) wanted Joe (Prystash) to rape her. Joe would not" Gipp said... Gipp testified that she did not know whether Prystash had a weapon on the night he broke into Fratta's home. She told prosecutors that her stun gun was missing. She said she had not seen it in years, however. A stun gun was used on Fratta that night... Fratta called 911 after the intrusion, and police officers saw two burn marks on her throat and shoulder consistent with stun gun injuries... No one was arrested for the break-in...

    ReplyDelete
  7. MURDER MIDDLEMAN GETS DEATH SENTENCE/PRYSTASH SET UP SLAYING OF FRATTA'S WIFE
    THU 07/11/1996
    A jury sentenced Joseph Prystash on Wednesday to death by injection for arranging the murder of Farah Fratta... After the sentence was read, jurors grimly filed past Fratta's parents, embracing them tightly and shaking their hands. Several jurors cried as the victim's parents thanked them...

    TRIAL BEGINS FOR THIRD DEFENDANT IN FRATTA MURDER-FOR-HIRE CASE
    THU 03/20/1997
    An accused assassin shot his victim in the head, then shot her again after she collapsed to be sure she was dead, a prosecutor said Wednesday. "It's done," Howard Paul Guidry told a co-defendant after killing Farah Fratta, said prosecutor Kelly Siegler. The comments were part of the prosecutor's opening statement as the capital murder trial of Guidry, 20, got under way...

    THIRD DEATH SENTENCE GIVEN IN FRATTA CASE
    THU 03/27/1997
    The gunman who killed a mother of three for $1,000 was sentenced to die Wednesday, joining his two co-defendants on death row... Fratta's parents, who have watched each of the three trials, said Guidry's put them through the most wrenching emotions. "He was the last person to see my child," said Lex Baquer, the victim's father. "He knew she was a mother of three." Baquer said he is relieved that the trials are over...

    APPEALS COURT REVERSES '96 CONVICTION OF FORMER LAWMAN
    WED 05/27/1998
    A state appeals court reversed a trial decision and entered a judgment of acquittal in the case of a 50-year-old former lawman convicted in 1996 of offering to avenge one murder-for-hire with another. The 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland issued the opinion in the case of Bill Planter late last week... The appeals court reversed the trial court and found the evidence used to convict Planter in May 1996 was insufficient to support the verdict, according to the court's opinion... the appeals court's opinion says the jury's finding that Planter attempted to get Baquer to kill Fratta was incorrect. Instead, the evidence shows that Planter only asked Baquer to pay him to kill Fratta...

    SIX DEATH ROW INMATES SURRENDER AFTER ESCAPE ATTEMPT
    SAT 11/28/1998
    HUNTSVILLE - Six death row inmates, including three from the Houston area, surrendered Friday during an escape attempt... Howard Guidry, 22, who was convicted in a November 1994 murder for hire...

    APPEALS COURT DENIES 4 DEATH ROW CLAIMS
    THU 02/18/1999
    The Criminal Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected appeals from four death row inmates, including former law enforcement officer Hilton Crawford, who abducted 12-year-old McKay Everett from the boy's Conroe home and killed him... The court also affirmed convictions and death sentences for: Former Missouri City police officer Robert Fratta, who paid to have his wife killed amid a nasty divorce battle...

    6 APPEALS REJECTED / DEATH CHAMBER DRAWS NEAR FOR KILLERS
    THU 12/16/1999
    Ten days before Christmas, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals made the holy season even bleaker than normal for six convicted killers, moving them a step closer to the death chamber by rejecting their appeals... Howard Paul Guidry, sentenced to death in the 1994 murder-for-hire slaying of Farah Fratta in Houston...

    COURT ORDERS ACQUITTAL FOR EX-LAW OFFICER
    Convicted in '96, man was accused of offering to set up death-for-hire
    FRI 02/11/2000
    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered Wednesday the acquittal of an ex-lawman convicted in 1996 of offering to avenge one murder-for-hire with another. The decision by the state's highest criminal appeals court means that Bill Planter, 52, will soon be released from prison and have no conviction on his record...

    HOSTAGE SEIZED ON DEATH ROW
    Two convicted killers hold guard as captive
    TUE 02/22/2000
    Two death row inmates convicted of murders in Harris County were holding a 57-year-old female correctional officer hostage Monday night... The inmates, Ponchai Wilkerson, 28, and Howard Guidry, 23, had two weapons, one of which was a sharpened metal rod and the other is a metal bar used to pry open food slots in cells.... the two inmates were demanding better conditions...

    ReplyDelete
  8. FINDING A LINK WITH TWO KILLERS
    Guard's ordeal lasts 13 hours
    WED 02/23/2000
    The correctional officer held hostage for 13 hours by two death row inmates stayed out of harm's way by seeking common ground with her captors and vowed after her release Tuesday to return to her job...

    FORMER LAWMAN FREED AFTER WINNING ACQUITTAL
    FRI 02/25/2000
    A judge Thursday signed an acquittal order freeing former law officer Bill Planter, whose conviction for soliciting a murder was overturned...

    EX-OFFICER OUT OF PRISON, TELLING TEXAS GOODBYE
    SAT 02/26/2000
    After spending four years in a state prison for a crime he says he did not commit, former law enforcement officer Bill Planter savored his new-found freedom Friday but said the experience would drive him from Texas, his home for 37 years... Planter said Friday he was "framed" and set up by Harris County deputies and detectives who took umbrage at comments he made to Baquer about the job they were doing in trying to solve the case...

    SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEALS BY EX-OFFICER
    TUE 03/21/2000
    The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the appeal of former Missouri City police Officer Robert Fratta, who is on death row for arranging the murder of his estranged wife. The court turned back Fratta's appeal without comment...

    JURISTS REJECT APPEALS
    TUE 10/03/2000
    The appeals of eight condemned Texas inmates, including two from Harris County, were rejected without comment Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court. One of the Harris County cases involves Howard Paul Guidry, 24, convicted as the triggerman in the November 1994 murder for hire of 34-year-old Farah Fratta...

    NEW TRIAL ORDERED IN '94 MURDER CASE / CONVICTED HIT MAN SAYS HE WAS TRICKED
    SAT 09/27/2003
    A federal judge ordered a new trial Friday for the man convicted of the 1994 murder-for-hire of Farah Fratta after determining that police tricked him into making a confession and that hearsay testimony contributed to his conviction. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore ordered that Howard Paul Guidry be released from death row if the state failed to conduct a new trial within 180 days... In her order, Gilmore found that sheriff's deputies refused to allow Guidry to see his attorney during interrogation, even after he demanded that he be allowed to do so...

    DAS MOVE TO APPEAL KILLER'S RETRIAL
    Judge ruled Guidry was tricked into confessing murder-for-hire
    TUE 09/30/2003
    Harris County prosecutors have asked the state attorney general's office to appeal a federal judge's order of a new trial for a death row inmate convicted in the 1994 murder-for-hire of a Missouri City policeman's wife... [Howard Paul] Guidry, 27, was convicted of being the triggerman in the shooting of Farah Fratta... "I am surprised at what has happened," said the victim's father, Lex Baquer, 70, of Humble...

    STATE APPEALS ORDER FOR HIT MAN'S RETRIAL
    DA office had asked for help keeping Guidry on death row
    FRI 10/03/2003
    In an effort to keep Howard Paul Guidry on death row, the state attorney general's office on Thursday sought to overturn a federal judge's order granting Guidry a new trial. The office appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in response to a request Monday by the Harris County district attorney's office, which convinced a jury to convict Guidry on March 21, 1997. "I'm glad that the attorney general appealed, and I think it's an opinion that needs to be appealed," said Assistant District Attorney Roe Wilson...

    APPEALS COURT SUPPORTS RETRIAL ORDER
    Houston judge ruled that a man on death row for a '94 killing didn't get a fair trial
    TUE 01/18/2005
    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling granting a new trial to a man sentenced to death in a murder-for-hire plot. Howard Paul Guidry, 28, was put on death row in 1997 for killing Farah Fratta...

    APPEALS COURT URGES TRIAL FOR INMATE ON DEATH ROW
    Judges uphold ruling that found man was tricked into confessing
    WED 10/26/2005
    A sharply divided federal appeals court let stand Tuesday a lower court's order that death row inmate Howard Paul Guidry be given a new trial because he was tricked into giving a confession...

    ReplyDelete
  9. NEW TRIAL LIKELY FOR CONDEMNED
    Justices refuse to hear DA's appeals of federal ruling
    Tue 03/21/2006
    Two death-row inmates were virtually ensured new trials Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals by the state. The refusal means the Harris County District Attorney's Office must retry Howard Paul Guidry, 29, and Martin Allen Draughon, 42, or set them free...

    JURY SELECTION STARTS IN NEW TRIAL FOR GUIDRY
    Tue 01/30/2007
    Jury selection begins today in the retrial of a 30-year-old man whose 1997 capital murder conviction in the death of Farah Fratta was overturned by a federal judge. Testimony in Howard Paul Guidry's trial is expected to start Feb. 19...

    VICTIM'S CHILDREN WITNESS RETRIAL OF SLAYING SUSPECT
    Grandfather says they haven't had contact with father since he was put on death row in plot
    Tue 02/20/2007
    Thirteen years after Farah Fratta was gunned down, her three children are watching the death penalty trial of the man accused of being hired to shoot her. The trial of Howard Paul Guidry continues today, as prosecutors work to piece together the lives of Robert Fratta and his wife, Farah, and her last days... Because some of the 1997 trial's evidence has been excluded, this trial will have different evidence, including tapes of jail phone calls Guidry made and testimony by a prison informer. A more striking difference is the presence of the Fratta children, who are planning to watch segments of the trial. The couple's three children, now 16, 18 and 20, sat with Farah Fratta's parents, who raised them after her death. They were 3, 6 and 8 when their mother was killed. "This is the opportunity for them to find out," Lex Baquer said of his grandchildren's attendance. "They asked us many times (what happened)." Baquer said the children haven't had any contact with their father since he was put on death row. He said a family law judge determined that it wouldn't be in the children's best interest. Baquer said the children were particularly interested in seeing Guidry's trial, because he is accused of being the gunman. Prosecutors quietly asked the children and their grandparents to leave the courtroom before graphic photos of Fratta's body were shown... And although this is the first time the children have heard evidence that their father hired someone to kill their mother rather than face a custody hearing in a messy divorce, this is the fourth trial Baquer has watched. Monday morning, tears welled in his eyes as he talked about his daughter. "Their mother was a beautiful lady. She loved the children," he said. "When she walked into a room, it just lit up"...

    WITNESS: `I JUST TURNED MY BACK'
    Killer's girlfriend at the time says she did nothing to stop the contract hit on Atascocita woman
    Wed 02/21/2007
    A woman who says she knew her boyfriend and another man planned to harm Farah Fratta wept Tuesday as she admitted doing nothing to prevent Fratta's murder. "I just didn't want any part of it," Mary Gipp McNeil told jurors. "I just turned my back." McNeil, of The Woodlands, testified in the capital murder trial of Howard Paul Guidry...

    'SHE WAS MY BABY,' VICTIM'S FATHER SAYS
    Dad apologizes for tears in retrial of alleged hit man in contract killing
    Thu 02/22/2007
    Lex Baquer apologized to jurors Wednesday for shedding tears as he testified in the trial of the man [Howard Paul Guidry] accused of murdering his daughter. "She was my baby," Baquer said, wiping his eyes as he recounted the 1994 hired killing of Farah Fratta... Baquer recounted going to his daughter's home in Atascocita, in northeast Harris County, after she was shot twice in the head Nov. 9, 1994. He said paramedics were trying to help her as she lay on the garage floor. "I could see she was having convulsions," said Baquer, 73. "She was shaking"... Prosecutors maintain that Prystash and Guidry expected to receive about $1,000, a Jeep and the pistol for carrying out the killing.

    MAN CONVICTED SECOND TIME IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE
    Fri 02/23/2007
    A man was convicted of capital murder a second time in the murder-for-hire killing of the estranged wife of a former Missouri City public safety officer. Howard Paul Guidry, 30, showed no emotion as visiting Judge Doug Shaver announced the verdict...

    SECOND JURY CHOOSES DEATH IN 1994 KILLING
    Defense hoping for one more reversal in case of slaying for hire
    Fri 03/02/2007
    After seeing her mother's killer condemned to death for a second time, a 16-year-old girl hugged her grandmother Thursday in a Houston courtroom. "I feel better," said Amber Baquer. "It's just a relief. It's over"... Prosecutor Kelly Siegler said Guidry belongs on death row...

    NEW TRIAL ORDERED IN WIFE-KILLING CASE
    Judge says trial was tainted by actions of DA in '96 contract slaying conviction
    Tue 10/02/2007
    Citing what she describes as "constitutionally inadequate testimony," a federal judge has ordered a new trial for Robert Fratta, the former Missouri City public safety officer... Laying fault with the practices of Harris County prosecutors and detectives, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon stated prosecutors "misused" hearsay evidence and investigators "blatantly violated" the suspected triggerman's civil rights in order to obtain a confession... On Monday, Farah's father, Lex Baquer, said he and his wife were "shocked" by Harmon's ruling. "This has brought a lot of pain to our family"... Harmon was also skeptical of the circumstances of the confession of Joseph Prystash, who was convicted of being the middleman in the murder-for-hire scheme...

    ReplyDelete
  10. COURT RULES EX-OFFICER CAN BE RETRIED
    Wed 07/23/2008
    Upholding a lower court's ruling that inadmissible testimony put him on death row, a former police officer [Robert Fratta] convicted for his part in a scheme to kill his wife 14 years ago may get a retrial, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday... The notion that Fratta could go free is troubling to many who are familiar with the circumstances of his wife's death or the publicity surrounding it. Testimony at his trial and in proceedings related to the divorce painted a sordid picture of sexual deviance, physical abuse and calculated murder. He had no qualms about expressing his desire to see her dead or reservations about showing a friend an account of her daily activities for use by a potential assassin. He calmly mentioned to another that there was no way he would let any other man "play with" the breast implants he had insisted she get as a condition of continued marriage...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey, you missed the latest... the jury sentenced him to death, again, on May 30, 2009!

    http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?id=6838434&section=news/local

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you. I really need a better system. I've outgrown the one that used to get me by.

    ReplyDelete
  13. When I think of this case I can't help but think about how easily Mary Gipp could have saved Farah Fratta's life. Her kids would not have lost their Mother. Mary Gipp's attitude was that it was just too much hassle and easier to stay out of it. She might as well have pulled the trigger herself. Hopefully Mary Gipp will lose years and years of sleep over her actions.

    ReplyDelete
  14. People who wish hell on other people actually heap burning coals on their own head.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Murder plotter sent to death row loses appeal
    by Associated Press
    kvue.com
    October 6, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied an appeal from a former suburban Houston police officer convicted and sent to death row for masterminding a plot to have his wife killed.

    The state's highest criminal court Wednesday rejected 32 points of error raised by lawyers for 54-year-old Robert Fratta.

    Most of the issues in the appeal focused on whether testimony was proper at his second trial in 2009 for the slaying of his 33-year-old wife, Farah, in 1994. She had filed for divorce from the former Missouri City officer.

    Fratta's first conviction, in 1996, was overturned on appeal.

    Two others were sent to death row in the same case, including the hitman, Howard Paul Guidry, and Joseph Prytash, who prosecutors said hired Guidry at Fratta's request.

    http://www.kvue.com/news/local/Murder-plotter-sent-to-death-row-loses-appeal-131216964.html

    ReplyDelete

Please post updates or email them to behindthebluewall@gmail.com. No cop-hating or victim-hating comments allowed. Word verification had to be added due to spam attacks on this blog.