DA asks judge to reject motions from Pitt researcher accused in poisoning
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office asked a judge to deny 80 motions to suppress evidence made by the attorneys for the University of Pittsburgh researcher accused of fatally poisoning his wife with cyanide, according to court documents filed on Friday.
Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Pellegrini argued that Robert Ferrante, and his attorneys do not have standing to challenge most of the search warrants, subpoenas and affidavits in the case and the ones they can challenge were valid and should not be suppressed.
Autumn Marie Klein, 41, a UPMC neurologist, died on April 20, 2013, three days after she was poisoned. Ferrante, 65, of Schenley Farms is scheduled to stand trial on Sept. 22. A jury from Dauphin County will hear the case.
Ferrante's attorneys Bill Difenderfer and Wendy Williams asked Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning to throw out a majority of the evidence collected against their client. They claimed there was not enough evidence to obtain the search warrants and that Ferrante's constitutional rights had been violated.
During their investigation of Klein's death, detectives searched Ferrante's home, offices at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, email accounts that belonged to him and Klein, computers, phones and his car. Pellegrini wrote in the 86-page response that Ferrante did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the items searched and seized by police and that they were connected to the investigation.
In response to the challenge of the search of Ferrante's car, Pelligrini wrote that the judge who signed the search warrant “made a practical, common-sense determination that there was a fair probability that evidence of Dr. Klein's death by cyanide poisoning would be found in a vehicle driven by the last person to see her conscious, who also had access to cyanide in his laboratory.”
Judge David R. Cashman placed a gag order on the case meaning attorneys on both sides would not comment.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- Rossi: In Super city, everything but football matters
- Underclassmen standouts help Sewickley Academy
- Three injured in two-vehicle accident on Arona Road in Hempfield
- Judge orders nonprofit tax form release in case against IRS
- Trib Cup: Baldwin girls basketball team stands by motto
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors
- Overhaul of military benefit programs sought
- Rostraver Democrat aims for 1 of 3 open spots on Westmoreland County bench
- Highmark members to keep maternity care at UPMC’s Magee in 2015
- Westmoreland County settles with fired public defender