SUNBURY — Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini announced Tuesday that he will seek the death penalty for accused murderers Elytte and Miranda Barbour.
Rosini cites torture and the perpetuation of another felony, robbery, as aggravating circumstances in seeking the death penalty for the newlyweds. The Barbours are accused by Sunbury police of stabbing and strangling Troy LaFerrara, 42, or Port Trevorton, on Nov. 11.
The decision to seek the death penalty was not surprising, Miranda Barbour’s attorney, Northumberland County Chief Public Defender Ed Greco said.
The family of LaFerrara was happy to learn the district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty, a family spokesperson said Tuesday after Rosini made the announcement.
“The family is very pleased by the district attorney’s decision to file the double death penalty,” the woman said. “We feel the evidence is undeniable. They (the Barbours) were both fully involved in planning and carrying out this heinous crime. The jury will now hear the details of the crime and then it will be in their hands to decide the final outcome. This is one more step toward justice for Troy.”
Rosini based his decision on certain aspects of the alleged crime, he said.
“Our procedure in determining whether to seek the death penalty in a homicide case is to first determine whether there is enough evidence to support one or more of the aggravating circumstances that are required by Pennsylvania law, which support the imposition of the death penalty,” Rosini wrote in a prepared statement.
“In reviewing this case we believe there is enough evidence to support two aggravating circumstances. A killing committed while in perpetration of another felony, namely robbery, and a killing committed by means of torture,” he wrote. “In reviewing the facts of the case and the manner in which this killing was arranged and committed, we believe that this is an appropriate case in which to seek the death penalty and that a jury would be likely to impose the death penalty in the event the defendants are convicted of first degree murder.”
Miranda, 19, and Elytte Barbour, 22, were charged by Sunbury police after police said LaFerrara answered Miranda Barbour’s Craigslist ad offering “delightful conversation” for money, and that after meeting at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, Selinsgrove, the couple drove with LaFerrara to Sunbury where the murder allegedly took place.
Miranda Barbour said she drove with LaFerrara, who began to grope her and put his hand on her throat so she defended herself and stabbed him, according to police.
Elytte Barbour told police the murder was planned because the two had always wanted to “kill someone ... anyone,” police said.
Elytte Barbour hid under a blanket in he backseat of the couple’s vehicle and when Miranda Barbour gave her husband a signal, he popped out and wrapped a cord around LaFerrara’s neck while she stabbed him 20 times, police said.
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