Frasch found guilty of first degree murder

Published: Jan. 23, 2017 at 10:11 AM EST
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By: Julie Montanaro

January 26, 2017

A Tallahassee doctor is found guilty of killing his wife.

Adam Frasch was found guilty of first degree murder Thursday afternoon.

The verdict came after four days of testimony, but only an hour and a half of jury deliberations.

Within minutes, the judge had sentenced Adam Frasch to life in prison.

Defense attorneys tried to convince the jury that Samira's death came as a surprise to Adam Frasch and the time of death would have put him far away in Panama City.

Yet prosecutors argued the murder followed weeks of arguing - allegations of infidelity - and even a threat to kill her.

"The tables had turned in her favor. I think that was very frustrating to Mr. Frasch," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said after the trial ended. "I think he acted out in anger and I think once he inflicted the damage to her head, he felt he had no way out and had to finish the job and make it look like an accident."

Prosecutors read a statement in court from Samira Frasch's family in Madagascar just moments before Frasch was sentenced.

Right outside, one of Samira Frasch's friends wept in the hall.

Linda Walker said she could not bear to be in court when the verdict was read.

Walker, who helped Samira plan parties and events, was in court all week. She said she worries about the couple's two young daughters and would have wept no matter what the verdict.

"(sigh) ... It's been real sad. It's one of the worst things I've had to go through ... that I've experienced ... because we were good friends and to think of the kids not having their mother or their father ... it's just sad. i feel for both of them."

Prosecutors say it's not clear how the verdict will impact the Frasch's two young daughters - who are roughly three and five years old now. They have been in the care of Frasch's brother since soon after the murder.

The defense was clearly stunned by the verdict and plans to appeal.

"I'm very disappointed in the outcome of the trial," defense attorney Clyde Taylor said as Frasch's family filed out of the courtroom behind him. "I think the time of death is absolutely critical and there's no way on this green earth that that woman was in the pool for longer than a couple hours, if that."

By: Julie Montanaro

January 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Adam Frasch has been found guilty of first degree murder in the 2014 death of his wife, Samira.

Samira Frasch was found dead in the pool of their Golden Eagle home in February of 2014.

The guilty verdict came just after an hour and a half of deliberation by the jury.

Frasch has been sentenced to life in prison.


January 26, 2017 2:20 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A verdict has been reached in the Adam Frasch murder trial.

It comes after an hour and a half of deliberation.

Frasch is currently in courtroom 3A waiting for the judge to announce the verdict


January 26, 2017 10:30 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A defense hired medical examiner believes that Samira Frasch drowned and did not die from the injuries to her head.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jonathan Arden believes that Samira Frasch was dead an hour or two before her body was found in the pool and he believes she died after 8 a.m.

That's after Adam Frasch is seen on surveillance tape leaving Golden Eagle through the gate near their home.

Arden says a lack of rigor mortis, a lack of settling of the blood and a lack of wrinkling of Samira Frasch's fingers led him to his conclusions on her time of death.

On cross examination, Arden admitted that the cold weather in the pool would slow down the post-mortem process. Prosecutors pointed out that first responders' attempts to revive Samira Frasch may have disturbed the process further.

Prosecutors hammered Arden on the issue of body temperature - pointing out in their questioning that the doctor has no way to know if Samira Frasch's body temperature was 80 or 50 when she was found because thermometers do not read below 80 degrees.

The doctor also said he had not seen pictures of Samira Frasch on scene - which prosecutors contend may have better indicated the condition of her body.

Dr. Arden says it is not common to use wrinkling of the fingers as a factor in determining time of death. He says most bodies found in water do have wrinkling. What is significant in this case, he testified, is that there wasn't any wrinkling.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 25, 2017

A doctor accused of killing his wife must soon decide whether he'll the take stand or remain silent.

Adam Frasch is on trial for the February 2014 murder of his wife Samira. She was found dead in the backyard pool.

A jury could start deliberating as early as Thursday afternoon.

The state rested its case today, the defense with just one more witness to go.

The state saved the most dramatic testimony for last.

Frasch's cell mate at the Leon County Jail took the stand saying Adam Frasch confessed to killing his wife with a golf club.

"She started a fight with him that night ... kicked him in the back when he was in the bed because of something she found on the laptop that morning and he defended himself pretty much," Dale Folsom said.

'They were fighting and he hit her and she fell and hit her head ... he hit her in the head with a club, you know - he tried to make it look like a murder I guess by somebody else," Folsom said.

"What happened after he hit her in the head with a golf club?" prosecutor Georgia Cappleman asked.

"She fell and he said he checked on her a little later and realized what had happened and said he didn't mean to kill her," Folsom said. "He was upset when he told me, but he said he didn't mean to kill her. It just happened and he got scared and ran so ... throwed her in the pool and ran."

Dale Folsom says Frasch even asked him to go to the Golden Eagle home and "get rid" of that club.

The defense contends Folsom told this story so he could get out of jail. He points out Folsom is a 40-time convicted felon and a life time drug addict.

A DNA expert testified Wednesday afternoon that Samira Frasch's DNA was on that golf club in the couple's master bedroom.

"I was able to develop a full DNA profile from the club portion that hits the ball from that golf club and that DNA profile matches Samira Frasch," now retired analyst Jo Ellen Brown.

Yet investigators found it nearly a year after the murder and can't say whether it was there the day of the murder.

Further complicating things, the medical examiner says she doesn't believe Samira Frasch was killed with that golf club.

"I'm starting to worry about you baby ... please call me back ... "

Prosecutors played a series of voice mails Adam Frasch left for his wife the day she died saying 'trying to get a hold of you' ... 'starting to worry about you' ... and ending each call with 'I love you.'

Yet cell phone records show he may have placed at least one of those calls after his friend already called to tell him Samira was dead.

On the stand for the defense Wednesday afternoon, a neighbor who was walking in Golden Eagle that day and says he saw Samira alive between 10:25 and 10:45 that morning.

That's more than two hours after her husband left.

"I saw a woman, African American, tall, dark hair, thin," Matthew Christiansen said.

"And what was this person doing when you observed her?" the prosecutor asked.

"It looked like she was putting something into a vehicle and then walking back towards her front door," Christiansen said.

"There's eight to ten cars that are always there, some of them are exotic," he said. "The only reason that stuck out to me is that was the first time I'd actually seen a person ever at that house."

Also on the stand for the defense Wednesday afternoon - a personal assistant who says it was not at all unusual for Adam Frasch to carry passports and large sums of cash.

The defense will conclude its case Thursday by calling an expert witness - a medical examiner.

It's not clear yet whether Adam Frasch will testify in his own defense. The judge has not asked him yet.

We'll keep you update on testimony throughout the day Thursday and let you know when the jury starts its deliberations.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 25, 2017

A jury could begin deliberating in the Adam Frasch murder trial as early as Thursday afternoon.

The defense has one more witness to call. He's a medical examiner flying in from out of town to testify.

It's not clear yet if Adam Frasch will testify in his own defense. The judge has not yet asked him to make a decision on that. That's likely to happen Thursday morning.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 25, 2017

The defense started calling witnesses to the stand Wednesday afternoon.

Joshua Hallock was one of Adam Frasch's personal assistants - driving his cars, helping book hotels and traveling with Frasch to his many homes.

He testified that it was not at all unusual for Adam Frasch to carry passports, several sets of car keys and large sums of cash with him as he traveled.

Matthew Christiansen lives in Golden Eagle. He says he and his daughter went for a walk the morning that Samira Frasch died. Christiansen said he often saw lots of cars at the Frasch house but had never seen anyone there. He says that's what got his attention.

Christiansen says he saw a tall, thin African American woman who appeared to be putting something into a vehicle in the driveway and then heading to the front door.

Christiansen says he saw the woman there between 10:25 and 10:45 a.m. and he was confident of the timing.

That is more than two hours after Adam Frasch is seen on surveillance video leaving Golden Eagle through the south gate.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 25, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The state has rested its case against Adam Frasch.

The defense is asking the judge to throw out the murder charge, saying evidence is circumstantial and the testimony of Frasch's cell mate is "questionable."

The defense claims it's manslaughter at best if the jury believes the cell mates story that Frasch did not mean to kill his wife.

The judge disagreed but says the golf club with Samira Frasch's DNA on it is confusing to the jury because the medical examiner said she doesn't believe Samira Frasch was killed by a golf club.

The judge refused to acquit Frasch and says a jury should decide whether Frasch is guilty or not.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- An FDLE DNA analyst testified that she found Samira Frasch's DNA on the head of a golf club found in the couple's bedroom.

Jo Ellen Brown said there was a mixture of DNA on the club grip, but she could not interpret or match that DNA to anyone.

Brown also found Adam Frasch's DNA beneath Samira Frasch's fingernails.

On cross examination, the defense attorney asked if it's possible the DNA under her fingernails could have come from a sexual encounter and Brown said yes.

Brown said she did find blood on Samira Frasch's fingers but it was a mixture of DNA from Samira and an unknown donor.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Dramatic testimony in the murder trial of Doctor Adam Frasch as the state wraps up its case against him.

A man who shared a cell with Frasch in the Leon County Jail - testified that Frasch told him he hit his wife with a golf club but didn't mean to kill her.

Dale Folsom - who admits to at least 40 felony convictions and a life time of drug use - claims Frasch told him his wife kicked him in the back after finding something on his lap top. Folsom claims Frasch told him he hit Samira with a golf club and she fell and hit her head.

Folsom claims Frasch told him that he "got scared," threw her in the pool "and ran."

Folsom claims Frasch told him he fled to Panama City and considered fleeing on his boat, but it was still being repaired.

Folsom also claims that Frasch went to the funeral home before his wife's funeral and "it made him sad." He says Frasch told him while he was there he touched the back of Samira's head where she'd been hit.

Folsom also claims that Frasch was trying to get him or someone to go to his Golden Eagle home and "get rid" of a "big fat" golf club in his garage.

Folsom told law enforcement about that and they arranged for Folsom to get out of jail to wait for Frasch's call.

Frasch never called so an investigator with the state attorney's office got a search warrant and found two golf clubs - drivers - at the house. One in the garage and one leaning in the corner of the master bedroom.

State Attorney's office investigator Jason Newlin says that search warrant was served in February 2015, nearly a year after the murder.

Newlin says he could not say whether the club was there the day of the murder, citing heavy curtains and statues in that corner of the couple's bedroom.

On cross examination, the defense hammered cell mate Dale Folsom about his dozens of convictions - calling him a "junkie."

"Your reward for this story is you got out of jail," defense attorney Clyde Taylor said.

State attorney's office investigator Jason Newlin says Frasch did not call Folsom because Frasch went to the medical unit and stayed there for two weeks.

The defense attorney pointed out that Frasch could make calls while in the medical unit and made dozens of calls, but not to Folsom.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 24, 2017

Did Samira Frasch's death come as a surprise to her husband? Or did Adam Frasch kill her and flee?

It's day two of the doctor's murder trial.

Jurors Tuesday getting an up close look at evidence found poolside in Golden Eagle and in Frasch's car 100 miles away .

Kendle Lindsey called his friend Adam Frasch the minute he heard that Frasch's wife Samira had been found dead .

"I asked him ... was he sitting down? I remember that ... I said hey I heard some terrible news," Lindsey testified. "Samira was drowned at the bottom of the pool."

Frasch was in Panama City with his two young daughters.

"He said like ... what? And I imagine he had his daughter in his hands because I heard her say, 'Dad why are you crying?' He was asking are you serious? What are you saying? What are you saying?"

Yet prosecutors contend Adam Frasch wasn't at all surprised by that call. He's accusing of beating and drowning her.

Detectives testifying Tuesday about bruising on Samira's body. They found a spray bottle of cleaner in the pool skimmer. They found blood on her hands and on the edge of the pool.

A search of Frasch's SUV in Panama City revealing 5-thousand dollars in cash and a pair of passports for him and one of his daughters.

Jurors also got a close up look at Samira Frasch's leopard robe and her flip flops which were both found in the pool along with her body that day.

Also taking the stand Tuesday? Samira Frasch's personal assistant.

He claims Adam Frasch threatened to kill his wife just days before the murder.

Steven Wilson says he was riding in the car with Samira Frasch that day.

He says she was arguing with a man on the other end of the phone - and heard her say - "You're my husband."

Shortly afterward, he says, Samira put the call on speakerphone.

"Did he make any threats to harm Mrs. Frasch?" prosecutor Georgia Cappleman asked.

"He did," Wilson said.

"and what did he say?"

"He said I will kill you."

"He said what?"

"I will kill you."

"How close in time to the time of her death?" Cappleman asked.

"About a week and a half."

Wilson says he has never met or talked to Adam Frasch.

He had been hired by Samira to help with the children and launch a modeling web site for them.

Crime scene photos of the Frasch's home gave jurors a glimpse of their extravagant lifestyle including expensive clothes and cars.

Frasch's friend said he collected them and kept them at one of his four or more homes.

"A lot ... I just can't count em," Kendle Lindsey said. "Probably 100 that I know of."


January 24, 2017 11:15 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- One of Adam Frasch's friends testified that he called to tell Adam Frasch that his wife had been found "at the bottom of the pool."

Frasch was upset and sounded like he was crying, his friend Kendle Lindsey said.

Lindsey testified that he heard one of Frasch's children in the background saying "Daddy why are you crying?"

Lindsey says he met Frasch when he sold him a car years ago. He says that Frasch had as many as 100 exotic cars which he kept at one of his four or five houses.

Lindsey testified that Samira Frasch wore expensive clothes and fancy wigs and spent a lot of money.

He says Samira did not have a job and was financially dependent on her husband for money.

He says in the years he has known the Frasch's, he was never aware of her family coming to visit from Madagascar.

Lindsey testified that when he spoke to Adam Frasch, Frasch was in Panama City. He says Frasch told him he was coming straight home to Tallahassee to see what was going on. Lindsey says he and his wife offered to watch Frasch's daughters if Frasch needed him to do so.


January 24, 2017 10:30 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Steven Wilson worked as a personal assistant to Samira Frasch in the weeks prior to her murder.

He testified that he was helping her with the children and helping her to launch a modeling web site for her daughter.

Wilson says about a week and a half before Samira Frasch's murder, he overheard an argument between her and her husband.

Wilson says Samira put the call on speaker phone and he heard Adam Frasch threaten her and say "I will kill you."

Wilson admitted on cross examination that he had never met or talked to Adam Frasch and the only way he knew it was him on the phone was by hearing Samira Frasch say "You're my husband" at one point in the argument.


January 24, 2017 9:30 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Crime scene photos flashed on the big screen on day two of Adam Frasch's murder trial.

LCSO Crime scene investigator John Kellerman says he took those photos.

They showed bruising on Samira Frasch's arms and blood stains on her hand.

Now the Frasch's former next door neighbors are testifying.

Carol Bass says she heard a car alarm about 7:30 in the morning and looked out to see a tall man with curly hair, wearing a red shirt, loading things into the car.

Later that morning at about 11 a.m. her husband was doing yard work and saw the Frasch's maintenance man round the corner of the house and say "Oh (expletive)! Oh my God!"

Farrell Bass says before that he did not see or hear any commotion at the house - no arguing and no big splash.

By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

January 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sex, guns, strippers and illegitimate children are all part of the allegations against Adam Frasch, the high profile defendant on trial in the state capital this week for the alleged murder of his wife, who was a French model grooming her own children to be celebrities in their own right.

Samira Frasch was obsessed with dressing her daughters beyond their years. The former French model met her husband Adam Frasch during fashion week in Paris. Three years later, in 2009, they married.

Fast forward five years, she had filed for divorce by the time her body was found floating in the pool of the couple's upscale home.

Her husband is now facing first degree murder charges.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman chose not to seek the death penalty.

“I reviewed the case for the potential of the death penalty and thought the aggravators were not present, so I did not seek it,” says the veteran prosecutor.

Dateline and other major network news programs are following every nuance of the soon to be made for TV show.

During a break in the trial, we asked the defendant, ”Adam, how do you feel going into today?”

He responded, “Fine.”

Defense attorneys say the case is circumstantial, but wouldn’t elaborate during a break.

“No comment,” responded Clyde Taylor to our question.

Adam Frasch claims the couple were reconciling, and that he spent the night before she died with his wife.

Samira’s body was found several hours after Adam Frasch took the children to a home in Panama City. He was loading them into his car when police arrived and arrested him.

Only a dozen of the first 50 jurors called said they knew about the case, even though it has been front page news and led the 6 p.m. newscasts here in the state capital.

The trial is expected to last all week, with most of the witnesses coming from the ranks of law enforcement.

Defense attorneys told jurors today that the state can not prove Adam Frasch was in the same town when the murder was committed.

By: Julie Montanaro

January 23, 2017


2:20 p.m.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman told the jury Samira Frasch was found partially clothed in the deep end of her backyard pool.

Her yard man found her and called 911.

Cappleman says Samira Frasch never showed any signs of life and when they tried to take her temperature at the hospital, it didn't register any temperature at all. The deputy called to the hospital to photograph her body saw extensive bruising on her face and head.

The medical examiner later deemed it a homicide, saying Samira Frasch died of blunt force trauma to her head and drowning.

Cappleman showed the jury a big screen photo of Adam Frasch which shows a scratch beneath his eye the day of the murder. She says they found Frasch's DNA beneath his wife's fingernails.

Cappleman says Frasch told investigators his wife drank two bottles of champagne the night before her death, but Cappleman says there was no alcohol in Samira Frasch's system when she died.

Defense attorney Clyde Taylor told the jury in his opening statements that the time of death is critical to this case.

Taylor says a man and his daughter walking in Golden Eagle at 10:30 that morning spotted Samira Frasch getting something out of an SUV.

The defense says there is surveillance video to prove Adam Frasch left Golden Eagle at 8 a.m. and was later on tape at a hardware store and a bank.

Taylor says the state cannot prove what time Samira Frasch died and cannot prove that Adam Frasch was at the home when she did.


2 p.m.

A six person jury - plus two alternates - are sworn and ready to hear opening arguments in the murder trial of Adam Frasch.

The jury includes an IT analyst, several state workers and a retired Army sergeant.

Testimony in the case is expected to last all week.


11 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Potential jurors are being questioned behind closed doors about publicity in the Adam Frasch murder case.

There are eight people seated around a table including Frasch. Jurors are face to face with the judge and two seats away from Frasch.

Most of the jurors said they knew that Samira Frasch was found dead in the pool and Adam Frasch and their two young daughters were found in Panama City.

One called it "suspicious," another called first degree murder "a long shot" and several mentioned the couple had a "tempestuous" marriage.

One woman said she recalled seeing the Frasch's "opulent" home. Another mentioned hearing something about a "golf club."

The one on one questioning lasted just minutes for each juror.

Attorneys are now asking jurors more general questions in courtroom 3A.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Jury selection is now underway in the murder trial of Adam Frasch.

Frasch is accused of killing his estranged wife in February 2014. Her body was found in the pool at their home in Golden Eagle.

Lots of hands - about half the 50 person jury pool - went up when the judge asked how many people had heard about the case.

The judge and attorneys are now planning to question jurors individually behind closed doors about what they know about the case and what they have seen in the media.

Adam Frasch will be in the room with the judge and attorneys as they ask jurors about pre-trial publicity.