Pitt researcher says he's not guilty in wife's death by cyanide
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 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Orpik on IR; Dumoulin recalled
- Penguins players are not out looking for fights
- Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- Penguins’ Orpik out; Neal to have phone hearing
- Greensburg man dies after multi-vehicle crash on Route 22
- Duquesne man acquitted of drug charges sues FBI agent for malicious prosecution
- Likely loss of Steelers draft pick looms because of Tomlin misstep
- Cranberry woman wins Miss Pennsylvania USA pageant
- CMU grad, hiking accident survivor Ralston arrested in Colorado
- Pitt to face MAC champ Bowling Green in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl