Briefs filed in Barbour case
SUNBURY - The attorney for accused murderer Miranda Barbour filed briefs Tuesday afternoon in the county prothonotary's office involving his claim that the alleged murder weapon was obtained by police with an invalid search warrant.
A brief also was filed by the defense for a forensic pathologist to be hired in the case.
Tuesday was the deadline to file the briefs. A response from the district attorney's office is due by July 9.
Chief public defender Edward Greco filed the documents as requested by Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor, who continues to mull legal arguments to determine if the knife Barbour confessed to using to stab to death 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara of Port Trevorton will be admitted as evidence during her capital murder trial.
During a hearing earlier this month, the defense and prosecution questioned two police officers and a former roommate of Barbour's about the residence where she lived with her co-defendant husband, Elytte Barbour.
Both are facing trial for the Nov. 11 murder of LaFerrara.
Greco has motioned that the incorrect listing on a search warrant of the address of the Barbour's home makes the warrant invalid. As a result, Greco believes the alleged murder weapon should be barred as evidence.
The Barbours lived at 101 N. Water St., a two-story white home. That's where the warrant was served and the knife found hidden in the attic, tucked into insulation inside a wall. However, the address on the warrant was listed three times as 101 N. Market St., a three-story yellow brick home. Both addresses were listed in the affidavit used to acquire the warrant.
Sunbury Cpl. Jamie Quinn and Detective Travis Bremigen previously testified in court that they were unaware how the error occurred and who made it. Quinn said a team of at least three city police officers had worked on 18 separate warrants and eight court orders.
However, Bremigen said he was at the home on six separate occasions and would not have mixed them up in the process of serving the warrant. He recounted each visit, culminating with the Dec. 9 service of the warrant.
Elytte Barbour told officers where the alleged murder weapon was located on the Friday prior. Police obtained the warrant the following Monday.
Briefs were previously submitted by Greco to suppress Miranda's confession made to law enforcement. She had requested legal counsel several times before confessing, but her request was not met. A hearing was held last month regarding the confession, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.
The commonwealth filed a notice to consolidate the cases shortly after the charges were filed against both defendants. Greco has since filed numerous motions, including one to sever the cases so Miranda and Elytte Barbour could have separate trials.
Attorney James Best, who is representing Elytte Barbour, doesn't oppose consolidating the cases into one trial.
Attorneys in the case don't expect a trial to begin until next year.