Former cop's murder retrial gets underway

May 5, 2009 12:26:11 PM PDT
Opening statements in the second capital murder trial of a former Missouri City police officer accused of killing his wife got underway Tuesday morning. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Robert Fratta was convicted of hiring two men to kill his wife more than a decade ago, but an appeals court ruled inadmissible evidence was used to convict him, so now he's getting a new trial.

It was back in 1994 when Farrah Fratta was shot to death. Two years later, her husband, Robert, was convicted of killing her. He allegedly hired two hit men to do it. Both of those men are now on death row, while Fratta was granted a new trial.

During opening statements, the prosecutor told jurors about the divorce proceedings they believe led to the murder of Farrah Fratta.

"As the divorce proceedings continued, things got a little more contentious between the defendant and Farrah Fratta," said the prosecutor to jurors. "Initially, of course, he vented to friends and family members, like anyone who's going through a divorce would vent. At some point during the divorce proceeding, he just simply started referring to Fratta as the (expletive)."

Opening statements were delayed a bit Tuesday as there was an issue over the alleged confession Fratta gave to investigators back in 1994. One of the investigators testified in a hearing Tuesday morning that he, in no way, assaulted Robert Fratta. Fratta had accused the investigator of assaulting him following an initial interview. Whether or not that is included in this case has yet to be ruled on.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

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