DA wants to limit what Pitt researcher can spend on defense against homicide charge
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office wants a judge to prevent the University of Pittsburgh researcher accused of fatally poisoning his wife from spending more money on his defense, because it could be used as restitution if he's convicted.
Robert Ferrante, 65, is accused of lacing a creatine drink with cyanide to kill his wife, Autumn Marie Klein, 41, a prominent UPMC neurologist. Paramedics found Klein on April 17 on the kitchen floor of the couple's home in Oakland. She died at UPMC Presbyterian on April 20.
Ferrante's attorney, William Difenderfer, last month asked a judge to free additional funds so he could hire experts and investigators. Ferrante has about $2.2 million in six bank accounts, according to financial records compiled by the DA's office. He had received permission to spend $280,000 to defend himself against one count of criminal homicide.
Prosecutors argued in court documents filed Tuesday that if Ferrante is convicted, the untapped resources could be used to pay restitution to Klein's estate; damages and counseling for the couple's 7-year-old daughter, Cianna; and Klein's hospital costs of approximately $400,000.
They worry that if Ferrante is given access to additional money, he could give it away.
Ferrante transferred $50,000 from the couple's joint account to an account solely in his name on May 15; $126,050 from joint and individual accounts to his adult daughter in California, Kimberly Ferrante, between May 2011 and April 2013; and $130,455 from joint and individual accounts to his adult son in Boston, Michael R. Ferrante, between August 2011 and February 2013, the documents said.
He put $30,000 in cash in a safety deposit box for his daughter on May 18 in Florida, about a month before police arrested him.
Difenderfer did not return calls. He previously said the money he has requested does not include what Ferrante might inherit from Klein's estate.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning is schedule to hear more arguments on Monday. Legal experts have said not allowing Ferrante access to the money could be grounds for an appeal.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him 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.
- Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
- McCutchen, Pirates cruise to interleague victory over Twins
- Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
- Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
- Steelers’ Bell unsure why NFL reduced his suspension
- Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
- Quaker Valley grad chips in for Penn State baseball, named summer league all-star
- Pirates notebook: Melancon bails out Watson with extended outing
- Extremes in weather hurt crops in Westmoreland