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Texas | Man executed for organizing the murder of his wife



(Washington) A former American police officer, sentenced to death for having ordered a hitman to murder his wife, was executed Tuesday evening in Texas, according to the prison authorities of the State.

Robert Fratta, 65, received a lethal injection in Huntsville Penitentiary, more than 28 years after his wife Farah was shot dead in her garage in suburban Houston.

According to court documents, the couple was going through acrimonious divorce proceedings, including over custody of their three children.

On several occasions, Robert Fratta had “asked friends and acquaintances to kill her or to recommend someone likely to kill her”, according to these documents.

He had finally obtained the help of a man registered in his sports club, who had then recruited his neighbor to kill Fratta. According to local media, Robert Fratta paid him $1,000.

In 1996, he was sentenced to death after a trial finally canceled in 2007 for formal defect. The sentence was however confirmed in 2009 during a second trial.

As his execution approached, his lawyers multiplied, in vain, appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States to try to obtain a reprieve.

Robert Fratta and other death row inmates have also taken local court action to challenge Texas’ use of lethal products past their expiration dates. For them, it violates the US Constitution, which prohibits “cruel” punishment.

Texas uses pentobarbital, a drug that prison authorities have difficulty obtaining because pharmaceutical companies do not want to be associated with the death penalty.

In the afternoon, a magistrate granted their request, prohibiting the authorities from using a lethal product “probably expired” and likely to inflict “serious pain”.

His decision was immediately blocked by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, and the state Supreme Court refused to intervene, de facto allowing the execution to proceed.

Robert Fratta is the second death row inmate to be executed in the United States in 2023.

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