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Former journalist begins prison sentence for murder plot

June 5, 1997

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A former journalist said Wednesday he was ready to begin the ``last leg of the journey″ and began serving a four-year sentence for trying to kill his lover’s husband.

Michael Frazier was convicted more than a year ago in a 1994 plot to slay a sleeping Rob Whedbee with a butcher knife. Whedbee’s wife, Lisa, is serving a one-year jail sentence for soliciting murder. She’s expected to be freed this month.

On Wednesday, the state Court of Criminal Appeals also rejected Frazier’s appeal of his four-year maximum sentence for attempted voluntary manslaughter. He decided against a further appeal to the state Supreme Court.

``While I am disappointed with the decision I am eager to begin this last leg of the journey,″ Frazier said in a statement. ``I look forward to putting this behind me and resuming my career upon being released.″

As a first-time offender, Frazier, 36, will be eligible for parole in a year and a half, said his lawyer, Greg Isaacs.

Frazier knew the Whedbees through his work and his church, where he was choir director and she was a choir member. As lifestyles editor for The Oak Ridger newspaper, he profiled the family’s struggles to raise a handicapped child in a Mother’s Day article in 1993.

Their affair began soon after. The plot to kill Whedbee grew out of her increasing claims of abuse and fear. The Whedbees are now divorced and she remarried before her case came to trial.

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