Vancouver man, 73, gets 23 years for wife's murder

Judge applies maximum sentence, considering woman’s plea to live

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: February 1, 2013, 8:10 PM

 

A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to more than 23 years in prison for shooting and killing his wife of more than two decades over a monetary dispute related to their pending divorce.

Victor W. Frye, 73, received the maximum sentence under the state sentencing guidelines.

On Nov. 12, Frye shot Nita Frye, 67, six times after he found her handwritten notes indicating she had plans for their money that differed from what they previously had agreed upon, said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke said he listened to an audio recording of a confession in which Frye described how his wife repeatedly pleaded for her life.

“The thing that rings the loudest and the most steady to me was Nita’s plea to you,” the judge told Frye. “She said to you several times, ‘Don’t do this, Vick.’ Yet you did it anyway. I don’t understand it. I’ll never understand it. It’s a terrible thing you did to Nita, to her family and to your family. Two people have been taken from society.”

The prosecutor argued that Frye deserved the maximum sentence for multiple reasons: After Frye found his wife’s note, he waited for her to arrive home and then confronted her with a 9 mm handgun. When his wife repeatedly pleaded for mercy, Frye replied that there would not be a divorce and shot her six times. Frye then threatened to kill police officers during a subsequent standoff at his home in a gated community at 3414 N.E. 83rd Ave. Finally, he showed no remorse when he confessed the crime to investigators.

One of Nita Frye’s daughters began sobbing in the public gallery as Gasperino described the shooting.

About 15 people were present in the courtroom during the sentencing, including several members of the victim’s family and three of her friends from Bank of America. Nita was a teller at the bank, her friend said.

Son speaks of loss

Nita’s son, Steve Link, spoke for the family, telling the judge what his mother and her family would miss now that she’s gone.

Link said his mother was active and in good health when Frye took her life. He said she easily could have lived an active and vibrant life for another 20 years.

“My mother was going to be a great-grandparent to great-grandchildren who haven’t been born yet,” Link said. “They’ll never meet Mom now.”

“I think (Frye) should get an equal amount of time my mom would have had left in life,” Link said.

Defense attorney Gerald Wear said Frye should receive credit for living a crime-free life for the first 73 years of his life. He had no criminal record prior to the murder. Frye, a retired U.S. Postal Service employee, also struggled with alcohol problems and depression.

But Stahnke said Frye had already received credit for that: Frye pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. He originally was charged with first-degree murder, which would have resulted in a more severe punishment.

Nita’s family members cried and embraced after the sentence.

“It won’t bring her back,” one of Nita’s daughters sobbed, as another family member hugged her.

The family declined to speak to a reporter.

Nita’s friend Sheila, who declined to give her last name, said Nita was great to work with.

“She was intelligent, very friendly, giving and caring,” Sheila said.


Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.