DA wants aggravated circumstances to stand in Barbour case
SUNBURY - The county district attorney is requesting Judge Charles Saylor dismiss a previous motion filed by Miranda Barbour's attorney to quash aggravating circumstances in the murder case.
In his brief filed Tuesday in the prothonotary's office, District Attorney Tony Rosini said evidence exists that supports the aggravating circumstance of the commission of homicide during the course of a robbery and that the case is properly designated as "capital one."
In addition to asking for county chief public defender Edward Greco's motion to be dismissed, Rosini requests that court to find that a prima facie case has been established on all charges filed by Sunbury police against Barbour, 19. Rosini also claims Greco's spousal privilege argument doesn't apply to the statements in the case because no confidential communications between Barbour and her husband and co-defendant, Elytte Barbour, 22, were admitted into evidence.
The Barbours, who moved from North Carolina to Selinsgrove shortly before the murder, are charged in the Nov. 11 slaying of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton, whose body containing 20 stab wounds was found the next day in the back yard of a home in the 200 block of Catawissa Avenue.
In his brief, Rosini said the commonwealth has submitted the transcript from Miranda Barbour's preliminary hearing, which includes the defendant's admission to committing homicide and taking the victim's wallet. The transcript states the cause of death was multiple sharp force injuries with strangulation likely involved, and includes testimony regarding the investigation and how Miranda Barbour was identified as a suspect.
The transcript also includes Elytte Barbour's statement regarding his involvement with his wife and a video of the two defendants together shortly after the homicide purchasing cleaning supplies to clean their vehicle.
The testimony was supplemented at an April 1 hearing with Miranda Barbour's statement at Northumberland County Prison where she admits to planning the murder and committing it, with her husband's assistance, and also taking of the victim's wallet, Rosini said.
Greco previously filed a motion to quash aggravating circumstances in the case in which he claims an autopsy report doesn't contain information to support the commonwealth's assertion that the homicide was committed by means of torture, which is one of the aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty.
Rosini previously said the homicide was committed by means of torture and in the commission of a robbery, which is another felony offense. Torture and robbery are both aggravating circumstances.
Saylor has not ruled yet on Greco's motion to quash aggravating circumstances in the defense attorney's attempt to prevent the commonwealth from seeking the death penalty.