By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — After marrying Elytte Barbour, the former Miranda Dean returned to her job at a North Carolina grocery store for about a week, a guest at her wedding said Wednesday, then left the job she held for about a year.
Morgan Brown, 22, of Erwin, N.C., said cashier Miranda Dean walked into the supermarket in early October and asked her whether she would be a witness at her nuptials.
Dean, a teen mother, told Brown that her wedding was being moved up by nine days because of “insurance reasons.”
A month later and 465 miles away in Sunbury, Miranda and Elytte Barbour — on their three-week wedding anniversary — fatally stabbed Port Trevorton resident Troy LaFerrara because they wanted to murder someone, anyone, just for the thrill, police said.
Dean, 18, had been working at the Coats, N.C., store for about a year, the store manager said Wednesday.
“I knew of her, but I didn’t really know her,” the man said.
Brown said she participated in Miranda’s nuptials because she was asked.
“I agreed to it because I thought I was doing her a favor,” Brown said Wednesday. “I worked with her and we would text so I considered her a friend, but we never really hung out outside of work.”
Brown thought Dean was going to be married on Halloween, but when Dean informed her she was bumping up the date, Brown asked why.
“She said it was insurance reasons,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what insurance she was speaking about, but it was their wedding.”
On Oct. 22, Dean drove to Brown’s residence in her red Honda CRV — the vehicle in which LaFerrara would later be stabbed 20 times, according to police — and gathered her coworker before driving to pick up Brittany Tart, a second witness at the ceremony that would take place before District Judge Regina Wood in Harnett County, N.C.
On the way, the women gathered Elytte Barbour, 21, of Coats.
The group made the 10-minute trip to the Harnett County Courthouse in Lillington, where Elytte Barbour and Miranda Dean completed the marriage application and walked to a nearby building, where the couple were married by Wood.
“We got back in the car and we left,” Brown said. “I remember it took like two hours and Elytte was late for work. We dropped him off first at his job” — Elytte Barbour was a dishwasher at a Coats restaurant — “and then we dropped off Brittany and (Miranda) took me home.”
The Barbours were thrilled to be man and wife, Brown said.
“She came into work the next day and I knew she wanted to keep the wedding a secret, so I didn’t really talk to her about it after the day we went,” Brown said.
“She continued to work for about a week or so, and then when I came to work one day I heard our manager looking to replace her. I just thought maybe she got fired or she quit.”
Brown had not heard from Miranda Barbour since that day and said she began to hear rumblings Dec. 3 that Miranda Barbour was arrested in Pennsylvania.
“I looked online and I was in shock,” she said. “I didn’t know that I would know someone who would do something so terrible.”
Miranda Barbour on Dec. 3 was arrested for Nov. 11 slaying of LaFerrara, 42, after Sunbury police said she and Elytte Barbour — who was arrested Friday — plotted to kill the married engineer after a meeting was arranged on the website Craigslist.
Police allege the newlyweds met LaFerrara at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, in Hummels Wharf, where LaFerrara got into the red Honda CRV, and drove to Sunbury.
After a signal was given by Miranda Barbour, Elytte Barbour appeared from under a blanket in the back seat and tied a cable around the 275-pound man’s neck while Miranda Barbour stabbed him 20 times.
The Barbours then went to a Harrisburg area strip club to celebrate Elytte’s 22nd birthday, police said.
Brown was unsure why Miranda Barbour was placing ads to meet men on Craigslist, but said she heard rumors from friends in the 2,200-resident town.
“You hear things,” Brown said, “but she never said anything to me. It’s a small town and she never came out and said anything like that to me.”
Brown was unsure whether she would ever speak to Miranda Barbour again, and said she just doesn’t know what to think.
“I would only want to know why something like this happened,” she said. “This whole thing is terrible for everyone.”
Miranda Barbour is due in court Dec. 20.