The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 7, 2014

Murder suspect's 12 pleas for lawyer refused

Public defender: Confession by Miranda at barracks inadmissible

SUNBURY — Miranda Barbour begged law enforcement authorities at least 12 times to provide her an attorney during her two interviews at the Selinsgrove state police barracks Dec. 2-3, and screamed for representation when officers forcibly seized her cell phone.

After being read her Miranda rights early in the first of two trips to the barracks that night, Barbour, 19, of Selinsgrove, was told because she was not under arrest, a public defender could not be provided to her, according to evidence suppression hearing testimony Tuesday in Northumberland County Court.

Without an attorney present and having been read rights that stated she was entitled to one, Barbour continued to be interviewed while being denied legal counsel, her public defender contends.

She was not provided an attorney until more than 12 hours after her first appearance at Selinsgrove, when she was taken to the Sunbury Police Department, arrested and charged in the Nov. 11 slaying of Troy LaFerrara, of Port Trevorton.

During the second interview at the barracks early Dec. 3, Barbour admitted to killing LaFerrara in self-defense, according to those who questioned her.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Northumberland County chief public defender Ed Greco sought to have the confession and subsequent evidence collected against Barbour thrown out.

Greco began interrogating Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch, Selingrove state trooper Brent Bobb and Sunbury police officer Travis Bremigen after Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini played portions of the video of Mrs. Barbour being interviewed by the trio at the Selinsgrove state police barracks.

Mrs. Barbour and her husband, Elytte, 22, of Selinsgrove, are accused in the slaying of LaFerrara.

Authorities claim Mrs. Barbour arrived for the first time at the Selinsgrove barracks at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and was not under arrest when she began to speak for two hours.

“I want to tell you guys so badly what happened,” Mrs. Barbour told police during that first interview, “but I can’t without a lawyer.”

Video of her interview was played for 50 minutes in Northumberland County Court.

Bobb sat with Mrs. Barbour and explained if she helped police understand what happened, police would be in a better position to help her.

And if she didn’t, “(Police will) find out anyway.”

Mrs. Barbour eventually called her husband from the state police barracks and informed him she was not going to be provided an attorney, and even though she could “tell them everything,” she didn’t feel comfortable without counsel present.

At some point during the interview, Barbour decided to leave, but was informed she would do so without taking her cell phone.

That didn’t sit well with Mrs. Barbour, who became irritated and told authorities she didn’t do anything wrong, and that she was leaving with her phone because police did not have a search warrant.

Bobb said they were only seizing her phone, not searching it.

Mrs. Barbour walked out of the police interview room and could be heard screaming: “Don’t touch me. I demand a lawyer. I didn’t do anything.”

Bobb testified that he grabbed the phone from Mrs. Barbour.

Mrs. Barbour returned to the barracks around 4:15 a.m. Dec. 3 after learning her husband had been there speaking with police. Authorities told her that Piecuch was on his way to explain that she was not under arrest and could not get an attorney unless she hired one.

Police had called Piecuch to the barracks.

The Snyder County prosecutor informed Mrs. Barbour that she was not under arrest, so she would not be entitled to a public defender, Piecuch testified Tuesday during about 90 minutes on the witness stand.

Mrs. Barbour again requested the presence of an attorney and can be heard on video saying: “I want to tell you guys everything, but I want an attorney.” Mrs. Barbour continued to explain to police that she was willing to speak if they would provide her with legal representation.

Piecuch, Bobb and Bremigen all testified Mrs. Barbour was not under arrest and there was not enough evidence to hold her even though while Mrs. Barbour was at the barracks, her red Honda CRV was seized from the parking lot of a Routes 11-15 restaurant, where Mr. Barbour was employed.

Police also arrived at the Barbour residence because one of the Barbours’ roommates was under the watch of Snyder County Probation and a spot check was done at the home.

Greco contended Mrs. Barbour should have been given an attorney after the first interview at the barracks, when she was read her Miranda rights by Bremigen, and that when she returned the second time — even though she spoke with police — they should have given her the opportunity to have an attorney present.

Rosini contends Mrs. Barbour was not under arrest and voluntarily came to the barracks to confess to the slaying of LaFerrara.

Bremigen testified that Mrs. Barbour was driven to her first interview at the Selinsgrove barracks in an unmarked cruiser with Bobb, city police Sgt. Chris Blase and Bremigen, who sat in the back seat with Mrs. Barbour.

Where the story becomes conflicted for the district attorney’s office is the confession given by Mrs. Barbour doesn’t match that of her husband, who was arrested three days after his wife.

Mr. Barbour told police the newlywed couple lured LaFerrara from Craiglist after his wife and LaFerrara began corresponding with each other.

The Barbours wanted to “kill someone, anyone, together,” Mr. Barbour told police, according to court documents.

Mr. Barbour said he was hiding under a blanket and when a sign was given he popped up and began to strangle LaFerrara with a cord while his wife stabbed him, according to police documents.

The couple then found an alley behind Catawissa Avenue, where they dumped the body, court documents said.

Mrs. Barbour however, said LaFerrara tried to grope her and that when he put his hands around her neck, she pulled out a knife and stabbed him. Mrs. Barbour has never told police her husband was in the vehicle or that the newlyweds planned to kill someone.

Greco will be presenting evidence when the second part of the suppression hearing continues June 2.


Text Only
  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

  • Attorneys seek $28G more from Line Mountain in wrestling case

    WILLIAMSPORT — The legal fee issue between the Line Mountain School District and the Beattie family, which successfully sued the district to allow seventh-grader Audriana Beattie to participate on the all-male wrestling team, is not over.

    July 24, 2014

  • Driver to police: 'Just shoot me'

    WATSONTOWN — A Turbotville man has been charged with making terroristic threats and disturbing the peace after he allegedly threatened to shoot people in a bar and said he had a weapon.

    July 24, 2014

  • New panel of officers installed by CSIU directors

    MONTANDON — A new executive team was installed at Wednesday night’s Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit meeting, as the terms of the present leadership expired this month. Act 102 of 1970, which first created 29 IUs in Pennsylvania, requires  intermediate unit directors to elect board of director officers annually in July.

    July 24, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.