Hearing to determine fate of reporter subpoena in Barbour case
SUNBURY - A hearing will be held at 11 a.m. Friday to determine if a subpoena is upheld ordering Daily Item reporter Francis Scarcella to testify about an alleged confession he obtained from accused murderer Miranda Barbour.
Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor issued an order Wednesday calling for the hearing on an emergency motion to quash the subpoena served by the district attorney's office on the newspaper's owner, Community Newspaper Group LLC, and Scarcella, who interviewed the 19-year-old Barbour last month at the county jail. During the interview, Barbour allegedly confessed to killing at least 22 people, including Troy LaFerrara.
Barbour and her 22-year-old husband, Elytte Barbour, are charged by Sunbury police with criminal homicide and other offenses in the murder of the 42-year-old Port Trevorton man, who was found stabbed to death Nov. 11 in the backyard of a Catawissa Avenue home.
Scarcella is scheduled to testify at a hearing at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday before Saylor that was requested by Barbour's attorney, Edward Greco, to compel discovery evidence from the district attorney's office in the case, which has drawn international attention.
Greco also is seeking to hire senior investigator Bernard E. Howard, of Stathill Investigations, Lewistown, to assist him in the case.
Greco, who serves as county chief public defender, said Howard will review search warrants in the homicide case, LaFerrara's background and the circumstances surrounding his death.
The county will be responsible for paying Howard's fees, including travel expenses, if the motion is granted by Saylor.
Earlier this month, Saylor granted a motion by Elytte Barbour's attorney James Best to appoint Jean M. Landis of Bethlehem as a mitigation expert to assist the lawyer in preparing a mitigation defense in the event his client's trial proceeds to the death penalty phase.
Landis' expenses will be paid by the county since both Barbours are indigent.
Elytte Barbour is currently housed at the county jail after previously being incarcerated at Columbia County Prison, Bloomsburg.
Miranda Barbour, who was initially jailed at Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury, remains incarcerated at SCI-Muncy, but will be allowed to confer with Greco at Northumberland County Prison on occasion when she has legal proceedings coming up at the courthouse.
Saylor previously issued an order to conduct a hearing at 1:15 p.m. April 30 to discuss a motion filed by Best to hire an investigator.