Ex-cop guilty of capital murder

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Fifteen years ago, /*Fratta*/'s estranged wife, Farah, was fatally shot in her Atascocita home. Two hit men were later arrested and accused the then-Missouri City policeman of hiring them to kill her.

The motive was said to be money and a custody fight.

Fratta was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 and was granted a new trial on appeal. Friday, he was convicted for the second time of capital murder.

Farah Fratta's family was relieved the jury went with the capital crime, rather then the lesser crime of murder, which may have allowed for early release.

"Risk was involved, as far as my life was concerned," said Lex Baquer, Farah Fratta's father. "He's very angry and he could, I mean, what can I say? Things could take place."

For Farah Fratta's family, including her daughter, a second trial has been an ordeal and unnecessary, her father says, if it had been done right the first time.

Now the question is whether a second jury will sentence Robert Fratta to death a second time.

"I've always maintained this," said Baquer. "If the punishment fits the crime, so be it. Texas has that punishment."

The punishment ranges from 40 years without parole in prison to death by lethal injection. The penalty phase begins May 26,

The two men hired by Fratta to kill his wife -- Joseph Prystash and Howard Guidry -- are both on death row, each convicted of capital murder in their own trials. Both Prystash and Guidry refused to testify against Fratta in this trial, each invoking his constitutional right to not incriminate himself.

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