Friday, July 2, 2010

Virginia Beach, VA: Va ex-Navy officer who had wife murdered is killed

Associated Press - July 31, 2010 1:35 PM ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A former Navy officer who was serving time for hiring someone to kill his wife was killed in a Kansas military prison a month before he was supposed to be released.

Officials at Fort Leavenworth say 54-year-old former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Fricke was beaten with a baseball bat by another inmate on July 24. He died Thursday after his family authorized taking him off life support.

Fricke had served 16 years of the 30-year sentence for his involvement in the murder of his wife, Roxanne, who was shot to death the parking lot of a Kempsville supermarket in 1988.

Fricke pleaded guilty during his 1994 court-martial to avoid a possible death sentence. He said he agreed to pay a man he had been stationed with at Oceana Naval Air Station $25,000 to find someone to kill his wife.

Man who had wife killed in Va. Beach in '88 to be freed


A former Navy lieutenant commander convicted in a murder-for-hire plot targeting his wife is set to be free this summer after serving 16 years of a 30-year sentence.

Michael Fricke is scheduled to be released from the Department of Defense's only maximum-security prison, at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He was convicted in the slaying of his 31-year-old wife, Roxanne Fricke, in a Kempsville Road grocery store parking lot in 1988.

After 10 days of trial in a military court at Norfolk Naval Station in 1994, Michael Fricke pleaded guilty to premeditated murder, avoiding a potential guilty verdict and execution.

Fricke was expected to serve 25 to 30 years, but under the military's parole system, he was eligible for parole in 10 years.

"Sixteen years for premeditated murder-for-hire when he was looking at the death sentence," said Roxanne Fricke's mother, Elizabeth Wade, in a phone interview earlier this week.

Wade said a Fort Leavenworth representative told her that Fricke got credit for good behavior and a work program he participated in.

"He's getting out because he was a good boy in prison," said Beverly Suain, one of Roxanne Fricke's sisters.

The case generated a lot of news coverage and took many turns. Roxanne Fricke was shot twice in the head on May 13, 1988. She and Michael Fricke, who had been high school sweethearts, had an infant son at the time.

Police arrested a man named Angelo Rivera in 1993 and accused him of shooting Roxanne Fricke for money.

Michael Fricke and another man, Gilroy Lamar Brunson, who claimed to be the middleman, were later arrested. Brunson got immunity for testifying against Michael Fricke.

Prosecutors dropped the capital murder charge against Rivera later in 1993. In 2000, he was charged again with capital murder in the case.

Prosecutors then dropped the charge against Rivera in 2003 because of destroyed evidence and inmates who changed their minds about testifying.

Suain said family members went to the parole board in Washington, D.C., each year to argue against Fricke's release.

Michael Fricke is set to be released to Edgewater, Fla., about an hour and a half from where Roxanne met and married him, and where her mother and her family still live, her mother said.

The Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman said the Army prohibits interviews with prisoners.

Jen McCaffery, (757) 222-5119,

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