VICTORIA, B.C. — An American who beat his elderly employer to death with a whiskey bottle while the two were on a cruise ship near here was sentenced Thursday to life imprisonment on a reduced charge of second-degree murder.
Robert Frisbee, 62, will not be eligible for parole for 10 years, the minimum for second-degree murder, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled.
Frisbee was convicted in January, 1987, of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without eligibility for parole for 25 years in the slaying of Muriel Barnett, 80, of San Francisco.
At Frisbee's trial, the British Columbia Supreme Court judge did not give the jury "adequate direction on the question of whether there was proof of planning and deliberation as distinct from intent," Appeal Court Justice W.E. Esson wrote in reducing the charge.
Barnett's body was found Aug. 19, 1985, in the $2,000-a-day stateroom she shared with Frisbee, her traveling companion. Prosecutors argued that Frisbee killed Barnett because she was going to cut him out of her $3.7-million will.