Middleman in murder-for-hire plot loses appeal

Joseph Prystash, Howard Guidry, Robert Fratta on death row for Farah Fratta's murder

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Robert Fratta, Farah Fratta

HOUSTON - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected an appeal from an auto mechanic sent to death row for being the middleman in a murder-for-hire plot that left a Houston-area police officer's wife fatally shot nearly two decades ago.

The state's highest criminal said Wednesday claims from 56-year-old Joseph Prystash weren't legally acceptable so they've been dismissed without even considering their merits.

Evidence showed Prystash was contacted by former Missouri City officer Robert Fratta, who offered him a Jeep to find a hitman to kill Fratta's estranged 33-year-old wife, Farah. She was killed at her home in 1994.

Fratta, Prystash and triggerman Howard Guidry all are on death row. None of them has an execution date.

Prystash already had a long criminal record, including seven felony convictions in Florida.

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