The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 4, 2013

Police outline details of Sunbury stabbing case in arrest papers

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — A petite 18-year-old slashed Troy LaFerrara 20 times in the front seat of her car, listened to him gasping and choking for air, then dumped his body in a Sunbury alley and drove to Harrisburg with her husband to celebrate his birthday, police said Tuesday.

Before she met with her husband, Miranda Barbour — the Selinsgrove teen who surrendered to authorities Tuesday in the Nov. 11 killing of the Port Trevorton resident — bought garbage bags, carpet cleaner, paper towels and seat covers at a Routes 11-15 department store, police said.

At a secluded spot in Selinsgrove, she cleaned as much blood as she could from her vehicle, then drove around Selinsgrove looking for a Dumpster to throw away the paper towels, police said.

Barbour, who according to police is paid to accompany men, was arraigned Tuesday before District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, possession of instruments of crime and simple assault.

She is in Northumberland County Prison without bail.

Barbour kept the knife she used to kill LaFerrara up until five days ago, when she decided to toss it in the Susquehanna River, police said. No one knew what she did until she told her husband prior to arriving at the Selinsgrove state police barracks early Tuesday morning, police said.

Sunbury police later Tuesday arrested Barbour, of 101 N. Water St.

Authorities working the three-week-old investigation began to question the former North Carolina resident after discovering hers was the last call received by LaFerrara’s cell phone, police said.

That phone was found on LaFerrara on Nov. 12, when his body was found in an alley behind Catawissa Avenue, police said.

Police obtained search warrants for LaFerrara’s cell phone and on Monday contacted Barbour, who agreed to meet with investigators that day at the Selinsgrove state police barracks, court documents said.

Barbour agreed to speak with authorities without an attorney present and said she did not know LaFerrara — even after police said they supplied a picture of the Port Trevorton man.

Barbour was aware of the murder investigation, according to court documents.

Barbour said she relocated to Selinsgrove at the end of October with her husband and small child, and they moved in with roommates at 101 N. Water St., police said.

Asked where she was the night of the murder, Barbour told investigators it was her husband’s birthday, that the two had plans to visit the Harrisburg area, and that she left sometime between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 11, according to police documents.

Police informed Barbour they had records that showed her cell phone was the last one to contact LaFerrara on Nov. 11, police said.

Barbour said she possibly made contact on Nov. 10 and 11 with LaFerrara because she meets males on the Internet site Craigslist, police said.

She would sometimes meet men through the website who wanted companionship and she would be paid, police said.

Barbour said she arranged a meeting with a male whom she had emailed, texted and  spoke with several times Nov. 11 and was to meet him in the parking lot of the Susquehanna Valley Mall, Hummels Wharf, according to police documents.

The area was dark and she didn’t feel comfortable, Barbour said, according to police, and after speaking with the man on her cellphone, she never met him and she returned home to pick up her husband and go to Harrisburg, police said.

Barbour’s husband and friend were then interviewed on Monday and told investigators they knew Barbour meets with individuals from Internet sites and that she carries a knife with her on those occasions, police said.

Barbour returned Tuesday to the Selinsgrove state police barracks, asked to speak with authorities and wanted an attorney present, police said.

Barbour said she couldn’t afford an attorney and wanted a public defender, police said.

The teen was told she wasn’t under arrest, so she couldn’t have a public defender, but that authorities would call Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch to attend the interview, police said.

Piecuch arrived at the barracks at 5 a.m. and explained she couldn’t receive a public defender because she hadn’t been charged with a crime, police said.

Barbour told police she wasn’t leaving the station and was willing to give a statement about the incident, police said.

Barbour said she met LaFerrara on Craigslist but didn’t know his name or what he looked like, and after emailing back and forth, the two decided to meet at the mall, police said.

At the mall, LaFerrara entered Barbour’s vehicle, and once they arrived in Sunbury, LaFerrara told Barbour to pull over, police said.

They parked, Barbour told police, and LaFerrara began to grope her, touch her private areas and put his hands around her throat, according to court documents.

Barbour then retrieved a knife from between the front seats and began to stab LaFerrara, police said. After the first two or three slashes, there wasn’t any reaction, and she blacked out and didn’t remember the rest of the times she stabbed him, police said.

Barbour told police she began to drive away, and that LaFerrara was still alive because she could hear him choking and gasping for air, police said.

Barbour drove around the city and found the alley behind Catawissa Avenue, just two blocks from a home LaFerrara owned in the city, police said.

She got out of the vehicle and walked around to the passenger’s-side door, which LaFerrara was leaning against, opened the door and watched him fall out, police said.

Barbour said LaFerrara’s foot was still in the vehicle and she lifted it out, took his wallet from his pants and got back in her car and drove off, police said.

Barbour got lost in the city and had to use her GPS system to leave, police said.

Sunbury police worked continuously for the past three weeks and Sunbury officer Travis Bremigen made the arrest Tuesday afternoon.

Cpl. Jamie Quinn and Sgt. Chris Blase led the investigation and the entire Sunbury police department contributed to the probe.

Police began to search video surveillance from city cameras and those near Susquehanna Valley Mall businesses and discovered LaFerrara arrived at the mall parking lot at around 9:36 p.m. Nov. 11.

LaFerrara parked next to Garfield’s Restaurant.

Authorities obtained cell phone records and discovered a conversation between LaFerrara and Barbour that read: “Alright, I’m pretty close to the mall.”

“Good.”

“I’m dropping my daughter off right now then I’ll be at the mall in about 15.”

“I’m here I don’t see you.”

“I am soo sketched out right now... I will wait for 10 more minutes??”

LaFerrara had been visiting his mother earlier that night and, after leaving, drove to the mall to meet with Barbour, police said.

Authorities found his black Chevy S-10 pickup truck in the mall parking lot one day after his body was found.

Barbour entered Apfelbaum’s courtroom and was surrounded by several police officers while she asked questions on where she would be transported after the arraignment.

The diminutive Barbour looked back at journalists from several media outlets and never said a word, but could be seen with tears in her eyes when Quinn, the Sunbury police corporal, explained to her she would be jailed until her next court date.

Barbour will appear in court Dec. 10.