Miranda Barbour's parents don't believe claims of serial killings, but dad says one 'is a possibility'
SUNBURY - The mother and father of Miranda Dean Barbour each said they doubt their daughter's claims that she killed at least 22 people in Alaska, California, North Carolina and Texas.
Her father, however, told a Daily Item reporter that a deadly shooting in Alaska that Barbour discussed in a jailhouse interview "is a possibility," and that he supports the state seeking the death penalty against his youngest child.
The new developments came to light Wednesday while international attention remains on a homicide case in Sunbury, where police accuse Barbour, 19, and her husband, Elytte, 22, of killing Troy LaFerrara, 42, a married environmental engineer from Port Trevorton, Nov. 11.
Police have yet to substantiate Miranda Barbour's claims she killed before her alleged involvement in LaFerrara's death.
In an interview with Daily Item reporter Francis Scarcella Friday night, she said she could pinpoint on a map the locations of the bodies.
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini issued a statement Tuesday repeating what he told The News-Item Sunday in reaction to Scarcella's story: "There has been no verification of any of the information that has been the subject of media coverage."
Rosini, who's pursuing the death penalty for the Barbours, said ethical rules bar him from commenting on Miranda Barbour's statements.
Mother, father speak
Miranda Barbour's mother, Elizabeth Dean, said in an off-camera interview Tuesday with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., that she couldn't imagine her daughter committing the previous killings. Dean, of Cary, N.C., said she and her daughter had moved from Alaska to North Carolina in 2012 to get a fresh start.
North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation "has been in contact with Pennsylvania authorities about this case" and remains in contact "to determine if there is any credible information related to any unsolved homicide in North Carolina," spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.
Her father, who contacted The Daily Item by phone Wednesday morning and asked that his name not be used, said, "I don't believe her. There is no way," according to a story by Scarcella posted online later Wednesday.
The man said he does believe his daughter may have something to do with one death she discussed with Scarcella. She said she lured a man into an alley and watched while the leader of a satanic cult shot the man before telling Miranda it was her turn.
"The reason I think that the Alaska incident is a possibility is that Miranda ran away from home at least two times that I remember, both for over a 48-hour period," he said, according to Scarcella's story, saying she was 13 and 14 when she ran away. "But I can promise you that she has only been to California once and Texas a few times and both times she wasn't out of my sight."
Miranda Barbour said the murders took place in the past six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.
In Alaska, state troopers said they are "not aware of any information, beyond Barbour's comments quoted in the press, or evidence that would implicate Barbour with a homicide committed in Alaska."
Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo has said investigators are aware of Barbour's claims and are contacting police in those jurisdictions. Neither Pennsylvania state police nor the Pennsylvania attorney general's office is involved in the investigation, spokespeople said this week.
Miranda Barbour's father said "she is the most manipulative person I have ever known," and that she spent most of her life in and out of treatment facilities after she became hooked on heroin.
But she did live in a strict house, he told Scarcella.
He also said he wrote a prepared statement to the LaFerrara family, and particularly his widow, Colleen, that said in part, "Each morning, I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family. If I could trade my life for his, I can honestly say that I would do that for you. Twenty years in the military has taught me to be prepared to sacrifice. As a Christian, I have often struggled with the issue of capital punishment.
"However, as the reality of it settled in over the past few weeks, I believe God has brought me peace with the fact that capital punishment, if chosen by the jury, is an appropriate end in this situation. In that case, I would stand side by side with you, take your hand, and silently pray that some good may come of this."
Defense lawyers are seeking psychiatric evaluations for the Barbours, who have pleaded not guilty.
Miranda Barbour was charged in the slaying Dec. 3. Her husband was charged three days later.
While she originally told police she acted alone, in her interview with Scarcella, she corroborated what her husband told police that he was involved. Police said Miranda Barbour stabbed LaFerrara about 20 times while her husband, up until that point hiding in the back seat, held a TV cable around the victim's neck.
Elytte Barbour told investigators the newlyweds, who were married about three weeks before the homicide and had recently moved from North Carolina to Selinsgrove, killed LaFerrara because they wanted "to murder someone together," police said.