Psychiatric experts sought in Elytte Barbour case
SUNBURY - Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor is expected to grant a request to have the state pay for a psychiatric exam to determine if accused murderer Elytte Barbour is competent to stand trial.
A hearing on the request and other motions, originally scheduled for this morning, has been postponed until 2:15 p.m. Thursday due to the forecast of a major snowstorm today. Saylor and President Judge William H. Wiest have postponed all legal proceedings at the courthouse, but the facility will remain open.
District Attorney Tony Rosini filed a motion Jan. 17 saying he doesn't oppose hiring a psychiatrist at the commonwealth's expense since the law allows it. But Rosini also filed a motion to hire his own expert witness in psychiatry to conduct an exam on Barbour. If the exams contradict one another, an independent psychiatrist may be ordered to offer an opinion before Saylor rules.
Barbour and his 19-year-old wife, Miranda, who is represented by county chief public defender Edward Greco, were appointed attorneys by the court because they are indigent. Since they cannot afford to pay for their attorneys, it's likely Saylor will grant defense attorney James Best's request for the commonwealth to pay for the psychiatric exam for Elytte Barbour.
Rosini also filed a request from the defense for pre-trial discovery evidence, notice of an alibi defense, notice of an insanity defense or mental infirmity defense, all reports or results of physical or mental exams and scientific tests or experiments, and the names and addresses of all witnesses the defense plans to call at trial.
No witnesses are expected to testify at Thursday's hearing. Elytte Barbour is expected to attend.
The district attorney announced last month that he will seek the death penalty for the Barbours in the Nov. 11 murder in Sunbury of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara, a married environmental engineer from Port Trevorton.
Police said the victim was stabbed approximately 20 times.
LaFerrara answered a Craigslist ad from Miranda Barbour in which she offered companionship for money, police said. Upon her arrest Dec. 3, she said she stabbed LaFerrara after he groped her and grabbed her throat.
Three days later when he was charged, Elytte Barbour told police he and his wife were both involved, and that they had devised a plot to kill LaFerrara because they wanted to kill someone together.
The Barbours had moved to Selinsgrove from North Carolina shortly before the homicide.
Rosini wants to prosecute the couple together.
Best said his client plans to seek a jury trial since Rosini has chosen to pursue the death penalty. The attorney, who is representing Barbour as a county independent conflicts counsel, also wants to have one trial for both defendants.
Elytte Barbour is jailed at Columbia County Prison in Bloomsburg. His wife, who also is seeking a jury trial, appeared for her formal arraignment last month on criminal homicide and other charges. She remains incarcerated in Northumberland County Prison.