The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 30, 2013

Pa. man waives extradition at hearing

BECKLEY — A Pennsylvania researcher arrested Thursday in Raleigh County for allegedly poisoning his neurologist wife waived extradition in a hearing Monday, agreeing before Raleigh Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick to be transported back to Pennsylvania to face a charge of criminal homicide.

Dr. Robert Joseph Ferrante, 64, a medical researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, allegedly poisoned Dr. Autumn Klein, 41, in Pittsburgh by giving her an energy supplement laced with cyanide.

Klein, who died in April, apparently thought the drink would help her get pregnant, according to reports by The Associated Press.

An affidavit of probable cause released Thursday indicated Ferrante believed his wife was having an affair and that she planned to divorce him.

Ferrante didn’t speak at Monday’s hearing, except to answer that he understood Kirkpatrick’s explanation of the extradition waiver and his legal options, as explained by the judge.

Although Ferrante has retained a private Pennsylvania attorney, public defender Marsha Hebb represented him at the extradition hearing.

Raleigh assistant prosecutor Andy Dimlich and county investigator Jeff Shumate represented the State of West Virginia.

Ferrante was arrested by West Virginia State Police Sgt. W.C. Tupper near Ghent at 6:57 p.m. Thursday and was taken to Southern Regional Jail in Beaver to await the extradition hearing.

Tupper said after he heard a “be on the lookout” for Ferrante, a license plate reader got a hit on his license. A roadblock was set up a little north of the Ghent toll booth.

“That’s where we caught him,” said Tupper.

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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