Satanic serial killer? DA skeptical about Miranda Barbour's claims she killed more than 20 others
SUNBURY - Miranda Barbour, a self-professed satanist, admitted to killing 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara, of Port Trevorton, and at least 22 others in the past six years during a recorded interview with a Daily Item reporter Friday night at Northumberland County Prison.
When contacted Sunday afternoon about his client's alleged confession to the murders and her intention to plead guilty in the most recent homicide, attorney Edward Greco declined comment about Barbour's self-incrimination. Greco said he still plans to proceed with a pre-trial motion hearing in the case and ultimately a trial.
"I have no comment on The Daily Item story," Greco said. "But I plan on following through with the pre-trial motions we have filed in the case and proceeding to trial."
When reached Sunday night, Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini said, "I am skeptical of her claims. We have been in contact with other law enforcement agencies where she has lived and haven't received any information verifying what she said."
Rosini said Barbour's claims of killing more than 20 people will not change his approach to prosecuting the case. "I'm prosecuting a homicide case here, not anywhere else," he said.
About a month ago, Barbour had sent a letter to The Daily Item requesting an interview with staff writer Francis Scarcella. In the letter, Barbour said Greco advised her not to speak to the media about the case, but she did so anyway.
According to reports in The Daily Item, Barbour considered sparing LaFerrara's life until he said the wrong thing.
The 19-year-old Barbour and her 22-year-old husband, Elytte Barbour, of Selinsgrove, are charged by Sunbury police in the Nov. 11 slaying of LaFerrara, who was stabbed approximately 20 times.
During the interview, Barbour reportedly admitted to murders in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California.
City police, who were not available for comment Sunday, told the Daily Item they had been working with investigators from other states and the FBI about Miranda's Barbour's possible connection to other killings prior to her alleged confession about the murders.
Barbour told Scarcella the majority of the murders took place in Alaska.
When asked Friday how many people she had killed, Barbour said through a prison phone, "When I hit 22, I stopped counting."
Barbour told Scarcella she wants to plead guilty and is ready to speak with police about her other victims.
She added, "I can pinpoint on a map where you can find them."
The defendant claimed LaFerrara's was her husband's first murder victim.
The Barbours were married only three weeks and had recently moved to Selinsgrove from North Carolina when they allegedly killed LaFerrara.
Miranda Barbour told Scarcella, "I remember everything. It is like watching a movie."
Barbour said she agreed to have sex for $100 with LaFerrara, whom she met through a Craigslist ad. The two met in the parking lot of the Susquehanna Valley Mall in Hummels Wharf and drove nearly six miles to Sunbury, according to Barbour.
At one point, Barbour said she planned to allow LaFerrara out of her Honda CR-V.
"He said the wrong things," she said. "And then things got out of control. I can tell you he was not supposed to be stabbed. My husband was just supposed to strangle him."
According to court records, Miranda Barbour stabbed the victim 20 times as her husband sprung from the floor of the back seat to wrap a cord around LaFerrara's neck.
During the interview, Miranda Barbour repeated her earlier claim that LaFerrara attempted to grope her, but said it was his words that set her off.
"I lied to him and told him I just turned 16," she said. "He told me that it was OK. If he would have said no, that he wasn't going to go through with the arrangements, I would have let him go."
The murder defendant said she doesn't care whether people believe her. She claimed she wanted to tell her story because she wanted to come clean and stop living a lie.
Barbour said she felt no remorse for her victims and claimed she killed only "bad people," a belief she traced through a troubled childhood.
She said she was sexually molested by a relative at age 4 and was introduced to murder at 13, literally in the hands of a man who led her to satanism, beliefs that she said she held at the time of the LaFerrara murder.
Barbour said she went with the leader of a satanic cult to meet a man who owed the cult leader money.
"It was an alley and he (cult leader) shot him," she said, declining to identify the cult leader.
"Then he said to me that it was my turn to shoot him. I hate guns. I don't use guns. I couldn't do it, so he came behind me and he took his hands and put them on top of mine and we pulled the trigger. And then from there I just continued to kill."
While in the satanic cult, Barbour became pregnant. She said the cult did not want her to have the baby so members tied her to a bed, gave her drugs and she had an "in-house abortion."
Miranda said she spent the next three years in Alaska, continuing in the satanic cult and participating in several murders.
Barbour, who then began using drugs, said, "I wasn't always there (mentally)," she said. I knew something was bad inside me and the satanic beliefs brought it out. I embraced it."
During those years, Miranda said she became pregnant again.
"And I moved to North Carolina," she said. "I wanted to start over and forget everything I did."
The Daily Item reported Barbour left Alaska as a high-ranking official in the satanic world, leaving the father of her second pregnancy, who was later murdered.
She said, "I would lure these people in," she said. "I studied them. I learned them and even became their friend. I did this to people who did bad things and didn't deserve to be here anymore."
Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo told The Daily Item authorities were aware of Barbour's claims of murders and Friday night's interview. He said prison officials are cooperating with his officers, who are reviewing the recording of The Daily Item interview.
The chief said he was seriously concerned about Barbour's claims and that police have been in contact with the proper authorities.
When asked how people would believe she would be capable of murder given her small stature, Barbour replied, "Looks can be deceiving."
Asked why she pleaded not guilty to LaFerrara's murder at her arraignment, Barbour said, "I didn't want to. When the judge asked me how do I plead, I was ready to say guilty and my attorney grabbed the microphone and said not guilty."
Miranda said she has not spoken with her husband since the day she was arrested, but claims he is "proud of what he did." She added, "I will always love him."
"I know I will never see my husband again and I have accepted that," she said. "I know I wanted to talk about all this because I know I had a 20-year window where I could possibly get out of jail and I don't want that to happen. If I were to be released, I would do this again."
She said, "By no means is this a way to glorify it or get attention. I'm telling you because it is time for me to be honest and I feel I need to be honest."
Because they are indigent, the Barbours have been granted permission by Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor to hire psychiatrists at the county's expense to conduct examinations on the defendants to determine their competency to stand trial.
Elytte Barbour, who is being held at Columbia County Prison in Bloomsburg, is represented by Attorney James Best, an independent conflicts counsel with the county.
Miranda Barbour is scheduled to appear for a hearing in county court at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in which Greco's pre-trial motions will be heard.
Greco, who is still awaiting discovery evidence from the district attorney's office, is seeking separate trials for the Barbours and a change of venue (moving the trial outside the county) and/or venire (selecting a jury from outside the county) because of the extensive publicity surrounding the case. The defense also is seeking to suppress statements, including an alleged confession given to police by Miranda Barbour during interviews Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.
The defense wants to quash aggravating circumstances in the case that would allow the commonwealth to seek the death penalty. Tony Rosini previously pointed out that police allege torture was used and a felony offense of robbery (LaFerrara's wallet was stolen) was committed during the killing. Torture and robbery are among 18 aggravating circumstances in death penalty cases in Pennsylvania.