Former Texas police officer executed for hiring two people to kill his estranged wife


former Texas police officer has been executed via lethal injection for hiring two people to kill his estranged wife nearly 30 years ago.

Robert Fratta, 65, died at the state penitentiary in Hunstville on Tuesday over the 1994 fatal shooting of his wife, Farah.

The convicted criminal was strapped to a chair with needles in each arm, AP reports, as his spiritual adviser prayed over him in his final moments.

He died 24 minutes after the lethal dose was injected.

Kahan, Fratta’s son, was among witnesses watching him die.

“Bob was a coward in 1994, when he arranged the murder for hire of his estranged wife,” Kahan said after the execution. “And 28-plus years later, he still was a coward tonight. When he was offered an opportunity to at least extend an olive branch to his son that he knew was watching this.

“And he still chose the coward’s way out. He could have said: ‘I’m sorry.’”

Fratta was the first inmate put to death this year in Texas and the second across the US. Eight other executions are scheduled in Texas for later this year.

The father-of-three had been jailed after organising his wife’s death through a middleman who hired the shooter. Both men were also sent to death row for their involvement.

Farah Fratta was shot twice in the head in her garage, aged 33.

Her husband, who was a public safety officer for Missouri City, had long claimed he was innocent.

The man’s lawyers had argued unsuccessfully that prosecutors withheld evidence that a trial witness had been hypnotised by investigators, eventually changing her recollection that she saw two men at the murder scene as well as a getaway driver, AP reports.

Fratta was also one of four Texas death row inmates who sued to stop the state’s prison system from using what they allege are expired and unsafe execution drugs. That lawsuit also failed on Tuesday.

Fratta was first sentenced to death in 1996 but his conviction was overturned by a federal judge who ruled that confessions from his co-conspirators shouldn’t have been admitted into evidence.

He was retried and resentenced to death in 2009.

His three children with Farah were raised by Farah’s father, victim services said.

The State of Texas authorised the use of the electric chair in 1923, and ordered all executions to be carried out by the state in Huntsville.

Capital punishment was declared “cruel and unusual punishment” by the US Supreme Court in June 1972, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice states.

In 1973, revision to the Texas Penal Code once again allowed assessment of the death penalty and allowed for executions to resume effective from January 1974.

The State of Texas adopted lethal injection as means of execution in 1977, and by 1996 close relatives and friends were allowed to witness executions.

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