Appeals Court upholds Gulfport man’s capital murder conviction

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The state Court of Appeals has rejected arguments from convicted murderer Victor Lowell Fryou that a trial judge erred in refusing to allow a jury to consider a lesser charge than capital murder.

Fryou was sentenced to life without parole in 2007 in Harrison County. He was convicted of capital murder and robbery in the Aug. 20, 2005, stabbing death of Patrick Devriendt, 41, of Gulfport. Devriendt was found dead in his mobile home.

Prosecutors said Fryou stabbed Devriendt more than 50 times during an argument. Fryou also was accused of stealing Devriendt’s truck and $1,200. The men had worked together on roofing jobs.

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According to the court record, Fryou testified he stabbed Devriendt and stole the man’s truck but denied stealing Devriendt’s wallet.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

On appeal, Fryou said the jury should have had the option of convicting him of murder or manslaughter, which carry lesser penalties than capital murder.

Appeals Judge David Chandler, writing Tuesday for the Appeals Court, said there was no evidence to support Fryou’s claims that he could be found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Chandler said Fryou testified that he killed Devriendt and that he took his truck after he killed him.

“Therefore, not only does the evidence support the verdict, but because Fryou admitted the killing and the robbery, the evidence would not have allowed the jury to find manslaughter. Fryou killed Devriendt while engaged in a robbery; therefore, his intent in killing him was irrelevant,” Chandler said.