The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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June 27, 2014

Miranda loses bid to muzzle confession

— SUNBURY — Miranda Barbour’s alleged confession at the Selinsgrove state police station Dec. 3 to a murder three weeks earlier would be admissible in a trial, despite her having screamed for an attorney at least 12 times, a Northumberland County judge ruled Thursday.

Because Barbour, 19, who with her husband, Elytte, are charged in the Nov. 11 murder of Troy LaFerrara, of Port Trevorton, had not been charged in the slaying during her Dec. 3 conversation with police, a trooper and Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch, she was not entitled to a court-appointed attorney, Judge Charles Saylor said.

Police said Mrs. Barbour stabbed LaFerrara up to 20 times and her husband used a cord to choke the 42-year-old, whose body was left in a city alley. Mr. Barbour told police the couple killed LaFerrara because they wanted to kill someone, anyone, together. Mrs. Barbour admitted to the killing only in self-defense.

Ed Greco had fought to get the confession thrown out after he said Mrs. Barbour should have been afforded the right to speak to an attorney because of the number of times she sought one.

“We just got the judge’s decision and we will weigh our options on the matter after due consideration,” Greco, Northumberland County’s chief public defender, said Thursday.

Judge: Confessed willingly

Mrs. Barbour willingly confessed, orally waived her Miranda rights and signed a consent form, Saylor said.

Saylor issued the order despite a 50-minute video at a May suppression hearing of the alleged confession showing Mrs. Barbour asking for an attorney at least 12 times. Mrs. Barbour can also be seen falling asleep while waiting on officers to speak with her.

When she was first brought to the state police station, Mrs. Barbour told police she didn’t know LaFerrara. She was not under arrest at that time and was taken to the Selinsgrove station without restraints, Saylor wrote.

After about two hours of questioning, a state trooper told Mrs. Barbour he was going to confiscate her phone. Mrs. Barbour became agitated and once again began to demand an attorney.

The trooper had to physically take the phone from Mrs. Barbour, Saylor wrote.

About four hours later, Mrs. Barbour arrived back at the state police station and asked to speak with police, Saylor wrote.

Mrs. Barbour waited for trooper Brent Bobb to arrive. He then took Mrs. Barbour to an interview room where Mrs. Barbour asked again for an attorney.

Bobb explained to Mrs. Barbour that she was “not charged with anything,” and she was not entitled to a court-appointed attorney, Saylor wrote.

Bobb then contacted Piecuch, who arrived at the station early Dec. 3. The district attorney also explained to Mrs. Barbour she was not charged, so she was not allowed to have a public defender, Saylor wrote.

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