Jury hears from detectives in ex-cop's trial

May 7, 2009 4:46:33 PM PDT
It was another day of disturbing testimony in the retrial of former Missouri City police officer Robert Fratta, who stands accused of hiring two men to kill his wife 15 years ago. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Fratta was convicted of capital murder back in 1996. But an appeals court ruled some of the evidence should not have been allowed, including the written statements from the two men he allegedly hired to kill his wife, which is why he received a new trial.

On Thursday, the officers who investigated Farah Fratta's murder took the stand.

The details became gruesome as the jury was shown photos of a deceased Farah Fratta after she'd been shot two times in the head. Prosecutors used the photos to show how they believe the murder happened, that she was shot twice at close range.

Fifteen years ago, William Valerio was a detective with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. He's now retired. At the time, Detective Valerio went to the Fratta house after the shooting. He recalled to the jury Robert Fratta's demeanor after Farah Fratta had been dead only a couple of hours.

"He (Fratta) was very calm, composed and cooperative," testified Valerio. "It was as if he was a police officer investigating a crime scene."

The defense pointed out that Fratta was a licensed police officer, employed by Missouri City. Prosecutors then pushed Valerio about Fratta's emotions that day.

"I thought his behavior was unusual, extremely unusual," he testified. "It didn't appear he had been upset. His hair was perfect, his eyes weren't red."

That's something we noticed back in 1994. After 14 hours of interviews by investigators, Fratta emerged, eager to talk to the media. He didn't cry or appear sad to us.

During Thursday's testimony, Fratta remained composed and didn't look up when his wife's autopsy photo was shown to the jury.

When he was convicted back in 1996, he received the death penalty. It's a punishment he could face one more time if convicted again.

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