SUNBURY — Each inmate transfer is treated similarly and undergoes a 10-day processing period in which visitors are not permitted, an official at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy said Saturday.
The night before, the mother of murder suspect Miranda Barbour learned she could not meet with her daughter at Northumberland County Prison, where she had been held since her Dec. 3 arrest, or at Muncy, where Miranda was moved.
Meanwhile, a relative of murder victim Troy LaFerrara on Saturday criticized Northumberland County Prison, which Friday allowed Miranda’s mother, Elizabeth Dean, to continue on a 600-mile trip to Sunbury to visit Miranda only to learn that her daughter wasn’t there.
Dean and Miranda’s grandmother, Darlene Fletcher, who live in separate North Carolina towns, said they spoke with Warden Roy Johnson at 1:57 p.m. Friday while they were en route to the prison and nearing the Maryland state line from Virginia.
Miranda Barbour, 19, and her husband, Elytte, 22, of Selinsgrove, have been charged in the Nov. 11 slaying of LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton.
“(Johnson) called us when we were traveling on the highway to Sunbury and he said we needed to get here as soon as possible,” Dean said. “He said he could not go into details. He said to get here as soon as you can.”
They arrived at 6:30 p.m. and said they were told by prison staff to come back for an 8:30 p.m. visit.
Dean and Fletcher had dinner, and returned to the lockup at 8:25 p.m.
That’s when they learned Miranda wasn’t there. Dean immediately called the Muncy lockup and was told she could not visit her daughter for 10 to 12 days.
“The conduct of the jail staff and especially the warden was unprofessional in handling this matter,” said LaFerrara’s relative, who asked to not be identified. “It is expected that all parties cooperate fully to enable the accused to receive any rightfully earned visitation.”
Dean and Fletcher entered the prison at 8:25 p.m., when they said they were given a handwritten note by a corrections officer, who said the note was from Johnson. That note had only the telephone number of SCI-Muncy.
LaFerrara’s relative also said the family holds no ill will toward relatives of Miranda and Elytte Barbour.
“Both of the defendants are adults and were in control of their choices and actions on Nov. 11,” the spokesperson said.
“It is myopic and misinformed to blame the parents, upbringing or society. The defendants committed an adult act and now it is time to take responsibility like adults inside the courtroom in front of a jury.”
Miranda, who has been housed at the Northumberland County Prison since her Dec. 3 arrest, called Dean on Friday night. Dean was unable to accept the call because of complications with the phone and never spoke with her daughter.
As Dean franticly placed calls to the Muncy lockup, she missed another call from Miranda, who left a message.
Dean and Fletcher on Friday night said they doubted claims made by Miranda in a Feb. 14 jailhouse interview about her killing at least 22 people.
“We don’t believe her,” Fletcher said. “I don’t know why she said these things.”
Fletcher said she had the opportunity to speak with Miranda the day before the Dec. 3 arrest by Sunbury police.
“I was busy and I told her I would call her back,” Fletcher said. “I wish I would have taken the call.”
Added Dean: “I am so disgusted that we didn’t get to see her.”