A disgraced lawyer who hired a hitman to murder his wife in front of their two young sons has died in prison.
Fred Tokars, 67, died in a Pennsylvania federal prison over the weekend from natural causes after having a high fever for days, his attorney Jerry Froelich told Oxygen.com. He noted that Tokars had been suffering from various ailments for years. Tokars had a neurological disorder and hadn’t been able to walk for about a decade, Froelich said. He theorized that Tokars may have even died of coronavirus but cautioned an autopsy will determine the exact cause.
Once a prominent prosecutor, Tokars later became a private lawyer who defended drug dealers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. When his wife Sara discovered he was helping his clients hide their illegal activities and financial gains, he set up a hit on her.
Sara, 39, was shot to death at point blank with a shotgun on Nov. 29, 1992 in front of her young sons — Ricky, 7, and Mike, 4, — near the family's suburban Atlanta home. The mother and her sons were returning home after spending Thanksgiving out of town. The shooter, Curtis Rower, later confessed that he had been contracted by Eddie Lawrence, one of Fred's business associates. Fred was the mastermind who hatched the plan.
He was convicted on federal racketeering charges in 1994 and given life without parole.
“I called Tokars evil in my closing argument and he was,” former Assistant U.S. Attorney Buddy Parker told the AJC. “I don’t think there’s any way you can think otherwise, having the mother of your sons killed in front of them. I don’t know if he ever changed.”
Since his conviction, Tokars has testified against multiple people for the government.
“He should have gotten a reduction,” Froelich told Oxygen.com. “He should have been out for the things he did for the federal government. He solved six murders. He testified and as a result two people got the electric chair and one got a life sentence involving the six murders and quite frankly it was unjust that he didn’t get a reduction in this sentence.”
Tokars’ son Mike died last month, at age 31, of a pulmonary embolism, the AJC reported. Mike, a writer and aspiring musician, wrote a first-person piece for the AJC in 2012 about what his family went through; he requested to have removed from the publication’s site earlier this year.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.