Thursday, December 08, 2005
Court Upholds Death Sentence Given To Robert Fry
By Barry Massey/
SANTA FE The state's highest court on Thursday upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of a Farmington man for killing a mother of five in 2000.
Robert Fry was sentenced to die by injection for the June 9, 2000, slaying of Betty Lee, 36, who was stabbed and bludgeoned with a sledgehammer in a remote area of San Juan County.
The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Fry's first-degree murder conviction but Chief Justice Richard Bosson dissented from the court decision to uphold the death sentence given to Fry.
Bosson said the case should have been remanded for a new sentencing hearing. He contended that jurors weren't properly instructed on the legal standard needed for capital punishment in New Mexico.
Fry also has been convicted of three other murders.
He was sentenced to life in prison for the March 31, 1998, killing of Donald Tsosie, 40, of Ganado, Ariz. Tsosie was beaten with a shovel. His body was found nearly a month later at the bottom of a cliff south of Farmington.
Fry received two life sentences for the Nov. 29, 1996, killings of Matthew Trecker, 18, and Joseph Fleming, 25. The Farmington men were stabbed and their throats were slashed in the now-defunct Eclectic, a counterculture store in downtown Farmington.
Currently, there are two men on death row Fry and Timothy Allen of Bloomfield. Allen was sentenced to die for the murder, kidnapping and attempted rape of 17-year-old Sandra Phillips of Flora Vista in 1994.
Over the past three decades, 28 people have been sentenced to death in New Mexico, according to death penalty repeal advocates.
One prisoner was executed child-killer Terry Clark in 2001 while 19 sentences were overturned, five were commuted and one convicted murderer died in prison. Clark's execution was the first in New Mexico in 41 years.