Barbour and trooper: From small talk to a confession
SUNBURY - It was a conversation any two strangers forced together in close quarters could have had.
Miranda Barbour and Trooper Brent Bobb made small talk about raising children. The words "I love you" told to him by his daughters are the only thing that kept Bobb from shipping them off to Siberia.
"Teenage girls are tough," Bobb told Barbour, the mother of a 2-year-old. "Be prepared."
They chatted about traveling the U.S. and abroad. Barbour wanted to get out of the country and experience other cultures. She laughed when Bobb suggested she'd been out of country when leaving her home state of Alaska and passing through Canada.
"Have you ever been to Alaska?" she asked the trooper.
It went on like that in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, with talk about the weather, about their lives, about how television shows like "CSI" are nothing like a real police investigation.
Soon after, the conversation turned. Small talk gave way to an interrogation and, ultimately, a confession.
"It's important that you be straight with everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. What you say will most likely be verified by other means," Bobb told her.
Barbour killed Troy LaFerrara. She told Bobb that; she said she stabbed him over and over, blacking out during the attack. Her Honda CRV was covered in blood. She drove around the unfamiliar streets of Sunbury for a short while before finding a semi-secluded place between two garages just off Center Street.
"I just opened my car door and he fell out," Barbour said of dumping LaFerrara's body.
The details brought LaFerrara's wife to tears in court Tuesday while a video recording was played in which Barbour tells police about stabbing the woman's husband to death.
Colleen LaFerrara was visibly upset, bowing her head and dabbing her eyes with tissues while she watched the proceeding from a bench behind the prosecution's table inside the Northumberland County Courthouse.
Barbour barely looked at the television in court. She used both hands to gently twist strands of her hair, staring at the table in front of her.
Barbour's confession to police Dec. 3 has been referred to countless times since the homicide case went global, largely on the strength of reporting by The Daily Item's Frances Scarcella who secured a separate confession of his own in a jailhouse interview.
Barbour's story and that of her husband and codefendant, Elytte Barbour, have been retold many times since then. More details followed as the investigation gave way to judicial proceedings.
On Tuesday, Barbour told the story in her own words recorded from Dec. 3.
Judge Charles H. Saylor requested her confession be played toward the end of a six-hour hearing when it seemed the defense and prosecution were satisfied without viewing it in court.
On the video, Barbour told police she didn't know LaFerrara at all before meeting him on Craigslist. She said they met in a parking lot at Susquehanna Valley Mall and that "everything was fine" while they drove around.
"As soon as I put the car in park everything flipped upside down. ... He just attacked me," she alleged in the confession, saying he began to choke her.
"You grabbed the knife with your left hand ... ," Bobb began to say, with Barbour finishing his sentence. "I just started stabbing him."
She had three knives in the car and reached for a long sharp one. It had a curve. Court records show she stabbed him 20 times.
Barbour had told Scarcella she agreed to have sex for $100 with LaFerrara, whom she met through a Craigslist ad. A self-alleged serial killer, allegations that have yet to be proven, she also had told the reporter she only kills "bad people," and that she and her husband wanted to kill someone together.
She didn't tell the police that on Dec. 3. Barbour never mentions her husband, Elytte, who would later confess to police that he hid in the back and strangled LaFerrara from behind with a cord. She told Bobb she wasn't sure where the cord came from that was found on his body.
The video confession ended abruptly. Before another video file was loaded to resume the confession, Saylor said he had enough for his purposes. He'll decide whether or not the confession Barbour gave Dec. 3 will be admissible as evidence as her homicide case heads toward trial.