TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pitt researcher says he's not guilty in wife's death by cyanide

About Adam Brandolph

Daily Photo Galleries


By Adam Brandolph

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 2:33 p.m.

He has been a husband, a suspect, a fugitive and then a prisoner in West Virginia.

On Tuesday, Robert Ferrante, 64, of Schenley Farms became a defendant charged in Allegheny County with the death of his wife, Autumn Marie Klein, 41, a UPMC neurologist.

Allegheny County Judge David R. Cashman informed Ferrante, a neuroscientist appearing via video conference from the Allegheny County Jail, of the single charge of criminal homicide and scheduled his preliminary hearing for Sept. 23.

Ferrante's attorney, Bill Difenderfer, entered a not guilty plea. Ferrante is being held without bond. Difenderfer told the judge he may address bond at a later date.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini asked that Ferrante not be permitted to have contact with his daughter or any witness in the case.

Cashman will preside over a custody hearing for Ferrante and Klein's daughter Cianna, 6, at 9:30 a.m. Monday and a hearing concerning Ferrante's assets at 1:30 p.m.

Ferrante wore a white button-down shirt with a red jail-issued shirt over it for his arraignment hearing. Klein's parents, Bill and Lois Klein, sat in the back of the third floor courtroom in the Allegheny County Courthouse with a detective by their side. They declined comment.

Difenderfer said Ferrante is “devastated” about losing his wife and “double-devastated” about the charge against him. Ferrante will undergo a mental health evaluation while at the jail, a normal procedure, he said.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Difenderfer said.

Investigators allege Ferrante bought cyanide with a Pitt credit card on April 15 and had it shipped overnight to his laboratory. Two days later, paramedics found Klein unresponsive on the kitchen floor of the pair's home.

She died April 20 at UPMC Presbyterian with a lethal amount of cyanide in her system.

West Virginia State Police arrested Ferrante on Thursday. Ferrante on Monday waived his extradition from West Virginia.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
  2. Penguins rally to escape with victory in Game 1 vs. Columbus
  3. Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
  4. Q&A with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
  5. Peduto says Penguins playoff series will be economic boon
  6. Veteran North Huntingdon police officer fired
  7. Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
  8. Penguins notebook: Goc skates, tests ailing ankle
  9. Reward offered in six-year-old homicide in Clairton
  10. Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
  11. Legislative sting’s scope broad, diverse
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.