SUNBURY, Pa. – A self-proclaimed mass killer and her husband pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a stranger they lured to his death with an online companionship ad.
Miranda Barbour, 19, and her husband, Elyette Barbour, 22, avoided the death penalty through an agreement with prosecutors in the Nov. 11, 2013, death of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton, Pa. They were originally charged with first-degree murder.
Prosecutors said LaFerrara met Miranda Barbour at a shopping mall, then drove him to a remote location, with her husband hiding in the back seat under a blanket. They said she stabbed LaFerrara 20 times while her husband strangled him with a cord from behind. His body was found in an alley in Sunbury.
Authorities said Miranda Barbour’s mobile phone showed she had placed online companionship ads with Craigslist and seekingarrangements.com. But they were not sure which ad LaFerrara responded to.
Barbour told the Sunbury Daily Item in a Valentine’s Day jailhouse interview that she had been a member of a satanic cult and that she had killed at least 22 other people over six years in states ranging from Alaska to California to Florida to North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
Authorities have been unable to confirm that she was responsible for unsolved murders in the states where she claimed to have killed what she described as bad men.
LaFerrara, an engineer at a local landfill, was married to his high school sweetheart for only two years when he answered the online ad by Miranda Barbour promising companionship in return for a fee. Authorities said the couple told them he was “choking and gasping for air” after being stabbed and strangled, dying later when they dumped his body.
Prosecutors quoted the couple as saying they wanted to kill someone to celebrate their marriage of three weeks. They said after killing LaFerrara they clean up and then went to a strip club in honor of the husband’s 22nd birthday.
Details for this story were provided by the Sunbury, Pa., Daily Item.