SUNBURY - Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini must decide by Jan. 21 whether he'll seek the death penalty for accused murderers Miranda and Elytte Barbour.

The Barbours, who recently moved to Selinsgrove from North Carolina, were held for court Friday by Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum on homicide, assault, robbery and other charges during separate preliminary hearings at Northumberland County Courthouse and are scheduled for formal arraignment Jan. 21.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges and plan to stand trial.

Now that the case has been moved from the magisterial level to the Court of Common Pleas, the death penalty issue must be addressed before the defendants' formal arraignment.

Since the Barbours have admitted to authorities they allegedly planned and conspired to kill 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara of Port Trevorton, the element of premeditation exists for the death penalty to be sought.

Rosini said there are a total of 18 aggravating circumstances that apply to the death penalty. He said torture and the fact that LaFerrara's murder was committed during the course of another felony offense are applicable.

He did not say for sure Friday if he plans to seek the death penalty.

Attorneys Edward Greco and James Best, who represent Miranda and Elytte Barbour, respectively, are certified to defend defendants in death-penalty cases.