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Man sentenced to die by injection for the second time

By Nikki Weingartner     Jun 1, 2009 in Crime
For a sociopath, divorce can be a very nasty event. For Farah Fratta, divorce meant her untimely death. The mastermind of her death, Robert Fratta, received the death penalty for a second time after the original sentence was tossed out.
In 1994, Farah Fratta, a 33-year-old woman and mother of three, met her untimely fate in her own garage on November 9. The reason? A hire-to-murder situation due to what was being called a "contentious divorce" and a heated custody battle.
Nearly two years after her death, Robert Fratta was convicted of capitol murder and sentenced to die for hiring two men, possibly from a local gym to kill his wife. Prosecutors say it was because she revealed his sexual secrets to friends. Of the two men he hired, Joseph Prystash and Howard Paul Guidry, a confession to the crime made by Guidry put all things into perspective. Despite an attempt to say the confession was a violation of the 5th Amendment, the circuit judge ruled it admissible.
Guidry was to receive $1,000 US and possibly an automobile from Fratta, in exchange for his wife's death. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1997 and then given a retrial and re-sentenced to death ten years later for shooting Farah Fratta in the head. Prystash is also on death row for his role in the murder-for-hire plan but may see a retrial soon.
But it is the story of the husband, Robert Fratta, that is getting the media attention.
On May 5 of this year, a new trial in the Fratta case began after an appellate court tossed the capital murder conviction on "inadmissible evidence." The evidence? Guidry's confession. On Saturday, after a total of 8 hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict and sentenced Robert Fratta to die for a second time.
Click 2 Houston explained:
The jury was sequestered Friday night and came back in the morning with three conditions to satisfy to help them decide Fratta's fate. They decided unanimously that Fratta would commit another violent crime if sentenced to life. They also decided that he did intend to kill his wife and knew that a life would be taken. Finally, they found that there were no factors, including his character or background, that would warrant a life sentence instead of death.
A statement allegedly made by an analyst further explained how the textbook sociopathic behaviour of Mr. Fratta was part of the equation, stating in the news that "What really showed a future danger, which was one of the issues for the jury answers, is that he doesn't look like he's dangerous." This follows the testimony on May 27 by a forensic psychiatrist who assessed Fratta's impaired mental state as: "paranoid" and "narcissistic" with a psycho-sexual impairment and that his thought processes are not normal.
Testimony by Fratta's own friends and a workout partner stating that Fratta had tried to enlist them in the search for an individual to kill his wife and then had asked them on the day of her murder if he would do the deed, even offering one $3,000 US to do the deed, might have served to label him as an ongoing danger to society.
After spending over a dozen years on death row and a new trial, Robert Fratta, now in his early fifties, will return to prison to await his fate. Due to the death sentence, he will automatically get an appeal. The children, who were very young at the time of their mother's murder, were raised by Farah's parents. The youngest of the three children graduated from high school the same day the news of Fratta's second death sentence was given.
The family was originally from New York and moved to Houston, Texas. Robert Fratta was a former Missouri City, Texas Police Officer.
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