Vancouver man, 73, pleads not guilty to murdering wife

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: November 28, 2012, 6:35 PM

 

A 73-year-old Vancouver man pleaded not guilty to first degree murder Wednesday morning in connection with the killing of his wife of more than 20 years.

Victor W. Frye, a retired U.S. Postal Service employee, is accused of shooting his 67-year-old wife, Nita, twice Nov. 12 after learning her plans for the couple’s money following their divorce, according to court documents. He was arrested Nov. 13.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke set Frye’s bail at $500,000. Since his arrest, Frye had been on a no-bail hold ordered by Judge Diane Woolard based on prosecutors’ concerns over the defendant’s danger to the community.

Scott Jackson, chief criminal deputy prosecutor, reiterated concerns Wednesday about Frye’s access to firearms and asked again that he be denied bail.

Frye’s court-appointed attorney, Gerry Wear, argued Frye should be granted bail because he has no criminal history. Frye has a history of alcohol abuse.

Stahnke also allowed Frye to retain Wear to represent him because Frye doesn’t have access to his assets to pay for a private attorney. Frye has at least $108,000 in a joint bank account with his wife and a condo, Wear said.

Police responded Nov. 12 to the Frye home in a gated community at 3414 N.E. 83rd Ave. and found Nita Frye lying in the bathroom covered with a blanket.

In an interview with investigators, Victor Frye admitted to killing her, according to court documents.

He told detectives he found his wife’s handwritten notes about her plans for the couple’s money after their divorce. Enraged, he said he waited for his wife to arrive home later that day and then confronted her with a handgun, according to court documents. During an ensuing struggle, Frye said he pushed her to the bathroom floor and “snapped,” allegedly shooting her in the upper torso with a 9-mm handgun.

He was reportedly suicidal and struggling with depression prior to the shooting. During his first appearance in court Nov. 14, he wore a suicide smock. He wore a standard orange jail uniform during Wednesday’s arraignment.

His trial is scheduled for Jan. 28.