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Bail set for Fraga

WORTHINGTON -- Josue Fraga, whose conviction in the 2008 murder and sexual assault of his 2-year-old niece was later overturned, had bail set Wednesday at $1.5 million without conditions and $1 million with conditions during a hearing in Nobles County District Court.

Fraga was convicted in May 2009 in the murder of Samantha Fraga, but Judge Timothy Connell has since granted another trial based on new evidence.

Regarding the $1 million bail with conditions, Judge George Harrelson said if Fraga posted bail, he could have no contact with minors, including his children. He also must advise the courts of his address and cannot leave the state without prior approval.

Harrelson followed the recommendations of William Klumpp, prosecuting attorney for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, to set a large bail amount along with conditions because Fraga had been sentenced to life without parole at the time of his conviction.

The new evidence involves Fraga's then 13-year-old son, who testified during the 2009 trial that he never sexually abused his cousin -- Samantha -- and that he was sleeping during her murder.

Fraga's son has since admitted that he did fondle the toddler, but never penetrated her.

Additional new evidence includes statements from Fraga's minor daughter, who now says she witnessed him assaulting Samantha and that she herself had been sexually abused by her father since she was 6 years old.

Referring to the new evidence, Klumpp said, "We think the case is stronger than it was originally."

Klumpp added that there is a high incentive for Fraga to flee the area and that "he's now divorced and has no ties to the community."

Cecil Naatz, Fraga's attorney, told the judge that his client once had ties to the community, but that he is "a man with no means at this time." He asked for a "reasonable bail" amount.

Fraga waived his rights to a speedy trial, and no further appearances have been set. He will remain at Nobles County Jail until his new trial.

Based on a technicality brought to attention by Klummp, Harrelson ordered Fraga's previous conviction vacated.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.