Children attend father's murder retrial

May 5, 2009 4:07:03 PM PDT
The retrial of a man who was convicted of hiring two men to kill his wife got underway Tuesday morning.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Robert Fratta is being given another trial after an appeals court ruled that some of the evidence used to convict him more than a decade ago should not have been used. During Fratta's first trial, the jury heard kinky details of his sex life, as well as gruesome details of his wife's murder. Another jury is now hearing those same details. The only difference is that now Fratta's grown children are in the audience.

They are grown and told their grandparents they want to be at the trial. Amber Fratta and her brother Daniel walked in with their grandmother Betty Baquer. Inside the courtroom, older brother Bradley and grandfather Lex Baquer joined the group. Amber, Bradley and Daniel were small children when their father, Robert Fratta was convicted in 1994 of the capital murder of their mother Farah Fratta.

During an exclusive interview before the trial, the Baquers told me they never spoke to their grandchildren about the details of their mother's death. For the first time, Farah's children listened to gruesome details of their mother's death and of their father's alleged involvement in hiring a hit man to kill Farah.

The prosecutor, Denise Bradley, told the jury during opening statements what Robert Fratta allegedly told an acquaintance back in 1994.

Bradly quoted, "I'm a police officer. People get away with stuff like this every day. They may think I did it but they will never be able to prove I did it."

The defense argued that, yes, Fratta talked about killing his wife, but his words did not mean he took action.

"But it does not mean that he did it," said defense attorney Vivian King. "That does not mean he did it. You will not hear any evidence from anybody that the state brings and that we cross examine that will ever say that he said that he killed her."

The first witnesses on the stand were friends of Farah who told the jury how they heard Robert Fratta telling them that he didn't want to pay child support. They say he wanted an open marriage, so he could have relations with other women, but at the same time not have to pay child support and remain married to Farah.

Numerous witnesses are expected to take the stand throughout the retrial, including Farah's parents.

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