PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jurors who convicted a University of Pittsburgh researcher of first-degree murder in the cyanide poisoning death of his wife say they didn’t find his explanations believable and were moved by an emergency call.
Dr Robert Ferrante, who hung his head when the verdict was read in court Friday, faces a mandatory life sentence in the April 2013 death of his wife, 41-year-old neurologist Dr Autumn Klein.
“I think he had incredible coaches,” juror Helen Ewing said. “I think he had a year to think about what story he wanted to tell.”
Ewing said she was “horrified” by the suffering of Klein heard on the emergency call Ferrante made while his wife was groaning, moaning and gasping for air in the background. Fellow juror Lance Deweese said: “It got you in the gut. It got you in the heart.”
The jury, which deliberated for 15 hours over two days, agreed with Allegheny County prosecutors who accused Ferrante of lacing his wife’s creatine energy drink with cyanide he bought through his lab using a university-issued charge card two days before she fell suddenly ill.
Klein’s relatives burst into tears upon hearing the guilty verdict.
“Justice for Autumn,” said her mother, Lois Klein, of Towson, Maryland, outside the courtroom.