The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

May 2, 2014

Miranda Barbour defense seeking experts

SUNBURY — Murder suspect Miranda Barbour’s legal team wants Northumberland County Court to grant a motion to appoint and pay for medical and forensic computer experts because the prosecution is seeking the death penalty and they need to prepare an adequate defense.

Sunbury police accuse Miranda Barbour and her husband, Elytte Barbour, in the Nov. 11 slaying of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton.

Police contend the newlywed couple of just more than three weeks planned to lure LaFerrara to his death by using a Craigslist ad promising “companionship.”

Northumberland County chief public defender Ed Greco, who represents Mrs. Barbour, filed the motion in court Friday asking a judge to approve Information Network Associates Inc., of Harrisburg, at $125 per hour to review digital information related to the criminal investigation.

That would include numerous discs, which Greco said must be reviewed as to content and legality. Greco said the defense thinks there is a need to investigate LaFerrara’s background and the circumstances surrounding his death.

“It’s alleged that this crime was originated through a computer,” Greco said in an early April hearing emphasizing the importance of information obtained from search warrants filed by the district attorney’s office.

In a separate motion filed Friday, Greco said because the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, it is necessary for his team to prepare an adequate defense in case the trial proceeds to the death penalty stage.

Greco previously filed a motion in court to quash the aggravating circumstances in the case against Mrs. Barbour.

Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini said the Barbours used robbery and torture as aggravating circumstances. Police said the Barbours stole LaFerrara’s wallet, which contained a small amount of cash. The autopsy showed there were at least 20 stab wounds.

Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor, who is presiding over Mrs. Barbour’s case, has not ruled on the aggravating circumstances motion.

“If the court denies defense counsel’s motion to quash aggravating circumstances and the case continues as a capital case, then the defense is constrained to request funding to hire a forensic pathologist,” Greco wrote.

Greco wants to retain an expert in forensic pathology to review the LaFerrara autopsy and other evidence. Greco said the medical expert would be able to provide an analysis to defense counsel and if necessary, testify for both the guilt and penalty phases of the trial.

Police said Mr. Barbour told authorities he was hiding in the backseat of his wife’s vehicle and after a sign was given by Mrs. Barbour, he popped out from under a blanket and began to strangle LaFerarra while his wife stabbed him up to 20 times.

Mrs. Barbour told police she stabbed LaFerrara because he began to grope her. She has yet to tell authorities her husband was in the backseat.

She is due back in court Tuesday.

 

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