The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 4, 2013

Husband of stabbing suspect says his wife is not a 'cold killer'

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — About five weeks after moving to the Valley, teenage newlywed Miranda Barbour continued to run her companionship business with the blessing of her husband, a business that led to 35 uneventful meetings in the past year, Elytte Barbour said Wednesday.

But on Tuesday, her offers of “delightful conversation” for wealthy men came to an abrupt halt.

That’s when the 18-year-old former North Carolina resident was charged in the murder of Port Trevorton resident Troy LaFerrara.

Elytte Barbour, 22, knew of and supported his wife’s business because “she wasn’t cheating on me because she wasn’t having sexual relations.”

A day after Miranda Barbour, of Selinsgrove, was charged with criminal homicide in LaFerrara’s death, Elytte Barbour, who also lives in Selinsgrove, defended his wife of just more than a month, saying he wanted people to know she is “not a killer or a prostitute,” but a paid companion who had “delightful conversations” with rich men for money.

LaFerrara’s body was found in a city alley Nov. 12. He died from multiple stab wounds, city police said.

Miranda Barbour is accused of slashing LaFerrara about 20 times and driving around Sunbury in her red Honda CRV with LaFerrara clinging to life in the passenger seat, choking and gasping for air, while she looked for somewhere to dump his body, police said.

“That sounds like she was a cold killer,” Elytte Barbour said Wednesday after he requested an interview at The Daily Item. “That is not her at all.”

After finding an alley behind Catawissa Avenue, Miranda Barbour left her Honda, walked to and opened the passenger’s-side door and watched LaFerrara’s body drop to the ground, police said.

She then had to use her GPS to exit the city and drove to a Routes 11-15 department store, where she purchased supplies to clean the blood-soaked seats, police said.

From there, Miranda Barbour trashed the bloody paper towels and returned to her house to pick up Elytte for their trip to Harrisburg to celebrate his birthday, police said.

The couple, married Oct. 22, were headed to a strip club, Elytte Barbour said.

“She must have done a good job of cleaning the car,” he said, “because I didn’t notice anything. I didn’t know any of this was going on until Monday, when I walked out of work and police asked me to go to the station with them. I thought it had to do with my roommate being in trouble for something.”

Police allege Miranda Barbour set a meeting with LaFerrara through the website Craigslist.

Elytte Barbour said he knew what his wife did for a living and that after reading media reports, he wanted to clear the air.

“She is not a prostitute,” he said. “What she does is meet men who have broken marriages or have no one in their lives and she meets with them and has delightful conversation. She has done this 30 to 35 times in the last year or so when we were living in North Carolina.

“But I can tell you there was never any sex involved.”

The Barbours moved to Selinsgrove about one week before LaFerrara was murdered.

“She only met with two or three people since we have been here and this is the first time something ever went wrong,” he said. “After I learned of what she did she explained that he (LaFerrara) was trying to hurt her and she blacked out and stabbed him in protection of herself.”

Elytte Barbour said he kept a 3-inch pocket knife in the vehicle and that his wife knew it was there if she ever needed protection.

He said he hasn’t seen the pocket knife since Nov. 11, adding that it isn’t something he would have looked for because he never really noticed it in the car. Miranda Barbour threw a knife in the river five days ago, police said. It was not confirmed that the knife used in the murder was the same knife Elytte stored in the vehicle

Elytte Barbour said his wife made anywhere from $50 to $850 for meeting with men, which included drinking coffee, dinner or walking around a mall.

Miranda Barbour placed ads on various websites, including Craigslist, Elytte Barbour said, adding that the advertisements said upfront that sex was not included.

Asked if he had any evidence of his wife’s innocence or any information that would lead him to believe she was defending herself, Elytte Barbour said: “No. I love her and she has always told me the truth.”

Men would call from hotels in the area on business, Elytte said, but his wife had only accompanied men two or three times since arriving in the Valley.

Elytte Barbour said he knew how his wife made money and he was OK with her business, because “Miranda was a great listener.

“You got to understand that walking around with a beautiful woman next to you gives you a lift,” he said. “All she did was show companionship and she let it be known up front that she was not selling any sort of sex.”

Elytte Barbour continued: “These were rich men and people who couldn’t spend all the money they had. They wanted a pretend girlfriend. One guy took her to dinner and they stayed for three hours talking. Some would buy her gifts. These were like dates in (the men’s) eyes.”

Elytte Barbour said he had no idea his wife was meeting LaFerrara the night of Nov. 11 and he was not aware his wife was involved in the highly publicized case.

“I followed it every day,” he said. “She never said a word to me about anything and even when police came to my house and searched through our things, I thought it was because of my roommate, who was in trouble for something else.”

Then police arrived to Elytte Barbour’s workplace and waited for him to leave.

“Police asked me to come with them to the police station,” he said. “When we got there, Miranda was there. I asked her what was going on.”

Police questioned the Barbours, then released them, he said.

“They showed me a picture of Troy (LaFerrara) and he was a big guy,” he said. “They said he weighed 250 to 300 pounds. When we got home it was about 2 a.m. and she said I have to tell you something.

“She told me she met with Troy (LaFerarra) and that he tried to grope her and grab at her and she defended herself and she blacked out and stabbed him. I told her she needed to go and tell the police, so I drove her there at around 4:30 a.m. and a few minutes later she called me and told me that she wasn’t under arrest and she couldn’t have an attorney and that she was free to leave, but I explained she better stay and tell them everything because they would only be back again to pick her up.

“That’s the last time I heard from her until she called me from Northumberland County Prison.”

The phone call lasted only seconds, Elytte Barbour said.

“All she said was, ‘I’m in jail,’ and then I heard what sounded like a deep voice and the phone disconnected,” he said. “That’s the last thing I heard.”

Elytte Barbour said his wife had a rough childhood.

“With my wife’s history, I believe she defended herself and eventually killed this man and that’s not against the law to defend yourself,” he said. “What she did was keep it from police and that was wrong. I believe she blacked out.”

Tuesday didn’t get any better for Elytte Barbour.

As he waited at his home for more information, Snyder County Children and Youth arrived and took Miranda Barbour’s 1½-year-old child away from him because county officials said he was under too much stress to care for the child, he said.

“I lost my wife, my stepchild and my life all at once,” he said. “I can’t sleep at night. I’m alone in a room with an empty crib and a lonely bed.”

The biological father of Miranda Barbour’s child is deceased, Elytte Barbour said.

Elytte Barbour then said he is confident in his wife.

“This story can go a different way and I know that,” he said. “I am not naive to that, but I believe my wife and I trust in her and what she said.”

n Email comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com.