Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers

Update: Satanic Craigslist Killer Miranda Barbour Pleads Guilty to Murder

We’ve been following the story of Miranda Barbour for the past few months.  In April, the self-proclaimed Satanist and “Craigslist Killer” made her first appearance in a Pennsylvania court, claiming responsibility for no fewer than 22 murders despite her young age of just 19.  The following month, prosecutors announced their intent to seek the death penalty for Barbour, saying she tortured and robbed victim Troy LaFerrara.  On Tuesday, August 26, Barbour pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, avoiding first-degree murder charges and a possible death sentence.  Despite her grandiose claims, LaFerrara is Barbour’s only confirmed victim at this time.

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Barbour Couple “Just Wanted to Murder Someone Together”

On April 1, 2014, Miranda Barbour made her first appearance in a Sunbury court.  She stood accused of the first degree murder of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara, an electrical engineer from Port Trevorton in Snyder County.

LaFerrara first encountered Barbour and her recently wed husband, 22-year-old Elytte, through a “companionship” thread on popular web forum Craigslist.  But when the trio met up in person on November 11, 2013, Barbour stabbed LaFerrara to death while husband Elytte strangled him with a cord.  LaFerrara’s lifeless body was later found dumped in an alley, riddled with over 20 knife wounds.

Barbour and her husband both initially pleaded not guilty, despite previously admitting culpability to police — in detail.

“I remember everything,” Barbour said in February.  “It is like watching a movie.”  She described LaFerrara “choking and gasping for air,” and stated she and husband Elytte “just wanted to murder someone together.”

In fact, she continued well past the LaFerrara claims, saying she was responsible for a grand total of 22 murders in states across the country, including California, Texas, and her home state of Alaska.  She added, “When I hit 22 I stopped counting.”

Barbour’s relatives were dismissive of her claims, though hardly sympathetic, with sister Ashley Dean calling Barbour “a master of lying,” and father Sonny Dean referring to his daughter as “the most manipulative person I have ever known.”  Her religious status as a Satanist was refuted by the Church of Satan, with which she claims affiliation, and even law enforcement agencies have been dubious regarding 21 of Barbour’s “murders.”

But her role in one of the many purported slayings — that of Troy LaFerrara — has now been confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Barbour Accepts Plea Deal, Death Penalty Dropped

On Tuesday the 26th, Barbour pleaded guilty to the LaFerrara murder in Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas.

She previously stood charged with first degree murder, with prosecuting attorneys seeking the death penalty if she was convicted.  But in exchange for accepting a plea deal with prosecutors, Barbour’s charges were reduced to second degree murder, thereby removing capital punishment as a possibility at her scheduled sentencing on September 18.

Barbour’s husband Elytte was also convicted on second degree charges.

Despite this dramatic directional shift, police remain unable to confirm Barbour’s additional murder claims, though investigation is still ongoing at this time.  Megan Peters, spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, says the claims beyond LaFerrara have yet to be substantiated by any evidence.

Kevin C. Donovan, Assistant Special Agent at the FBI’s Anchorage division, adds, “The FBI is currently assisting local police in the investigation into whether or not Miranda Barbour is linked to any additional murder victims.  It is anticipated that the investigation will take some time to complete.”

While the Barbours no longer have to worry about capital punishment — which, while very rare in Pennsylvania, is certainly a possibility  — they could still be facing life sentences in prison.

The last time Pennsylvania used the death penalty was in 1999, in the case of Gary M. Heidnik, who was convicted of kidnapping, torturing, and raping six women in the basement of his Philadelphia home.  Whether or not this can be attributed to sheer coincidence, all three of the capital cases in Pennsylvania’s history took place during Tom Ridge’s term as Governor.  At least 193 inmates are currently on death row; but Miranda and Elytte Barbour are no longer among them.

In addition to pleading guilty to the murder charges, the Barbours also pleaded guilty to additional charges of aggravated assault, robbery, and possession of an instrument of crime.

Despite (tentative) skepticism from law enforcement agencies, Barbour remains steadfast in her original assertions.  “I stand by what I said,” she said from State Correctional Institution — Muncy.  “If people choose to not believe me, then that’s up to them,” she added.  “I said what I said and I wanted to get the truth out.  This is the first time I am telling the truth in my life.”

In a bleak final detail, Barbour herself was once a victim of heinous crimes: she was sexually abused by her uncle, Richard Fernandez, when she was a child.  Investigators working on the Fernandez case uncovered a “book” Fernandez had penned himself, titled “Fun With My Sister’s Kids.”  According to court records, the book “encouraged uncles, fathers and grandfathers to engage in unclassified felony sex acts with their young nieces, daughters and granddaughters.”

Fernandez is now in prison, where he will remain until 2035.

If you or someone you love has been arrested in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania to set up a free and confidential legal consultation with an experienced Bucks County defense attorney.  You can also contact us online.