Prosecutor: 'No verification' Miranda Barbour killed more than 20 people
Miranda Barbour is led out of the courthouse after her preliminary hearing in Sunbury, Pa., on Dec. 20, 2013. (PennLive.com / Christine Baker)
Peter Jackson, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014 5:30AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:11AM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Police have yet to substantiate a 19-year-old woman's claim that she killed more than 20 people in four states before the Pennsylvania murder she is now charged with committing.
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini said in a statement Tuesday "there has been no verification of any of the information that has been the subject of media coverage" in the case of Miranda Barbour, who with husband Elytte Barbour is awaiting trial in the death of a man they're accused of luring through a Craigslist ad for companionship.
Miranda Barbour, in a Friday prison interview with The Daily Item in Sunbury, claimed to have killed at least 22 people in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California in the past six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.
"I just want to get it out," Barbour told the newspaper.
Rosini, who's pursuing the death penalty for the Barbours, said ethical rules bar him from commenting on Miranda Barbour's statements.
In the Sunbury homicide investigation, the Barbours repeatedly changed their accounts of the events leading up to the Nov. 11 death of Troy LaFerrara, who police say met up with Miranda Barbour for companionship in exchange for money.
Ultimately, police said, Miranda Barbour stabbed LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton, about 20 times in her parked car. They said Elytte Barbour held a cord tight against LaFerrara's neck from the back seat and then dumped his body in an alley.
Miranda Barbour initially denied knowing LaFerrara but changed her story when police gathered evidence including records that showed the last call to his cellphone came from hers, authorities said.
The couple, who married about three weeks before the killing, also initially told police that Miranda Barbour had acted alone and stabbed LaFerrara in self-defence, authorities said. A few days after her arrest, Elytte Barbour, 22, admitted his involvement after police obtained surveillance recordings that showed him getting out of her car on the night of the killing and buying supplies to clean it, they said.
Elytte Barbour told investigators the newlyweds killed LaFerrara because they wanted "to murder someone together," police said.
Defence lawyers are seeking psychiatric evaluations for the Barbours, who have pleaded not guilty.
Miranda Barbour's mother, Elizabeth Dean, said in an off-camera interview Tuesday with WRAL-TV in North Carolina, that she couldn't imagine her committing the previous killings. Dean said she and her daughter had moved from Alaska to North Carolina in 2012 to get a fresh start.
Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo has said investigators are aware of Miranda Barbour's claims about killings in other states and were contacting police in those jurisdictions.
Neither Pennsylvania state police nor the Pennsylvania attorney general's office is involved in the investigation, spokesmen said Tuesday.
North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation "has been in contact with Pennsylvania authorities about this case" and remains in contact "to determine if there is any credible information related to any unsolved homicide in North Carolina," spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.
In Alaska, state troopers said they were "not aware of any information, beyond Barbour's comments quoted in the press, or evidence that would implicate Barbour with a homicide committed in Alaska."
Associated Press writers Rachel D'Oro in Anchorage, Alaska, and Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.