Lawyers for 19-year-old suspected ‘Craigslist killer’ want confession tossed out
By David DeKok
SUNBURY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Defense attorneys for the woman dubbed the “Craigslist killer” suspect on Tuesday questioned in court whether she had been fairly represented by legal counsel, hoping to have her confession tossed out as evidence.
The attorneys say Miranda Barbour asked for a lawyer when she was first questioned by Pennsylvania state police in December but was turned down.
Barbour, 19, who claims to be a serial killer, is accused with her husband, Elytte Barbour, of murdering Troy LaFerrara after luring him by means of the Craigslist online classified ad site.
“This individual walked into the station and said she wanted to give a statement and turn herself in, and this didn’t trigger her right to counsel?” asked defense attorney Edward Greco during the hearing in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas.
Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch, testifying as a witness, said Barbour did not qualify for a lawyer because she was not yet charged with a crime during the December 3, 2013 questioning by state police in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
“Who was going to pay for it?” he said.
Barbour confessed to the crime without a lawyer present.
Defense attorneys want her confession tossed out as evidence. A ruling by Judge Charles Saylor was not expected on Tuesday.
Barbour, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, was impassive during the suppression-of-evidence hearing. She faces a possible death sentence if convicted.
She and her husband have pleaded not guilty to the stabbing and strangling in November of LaFerrara, 42, whose body was found dumped in an alley in Sunbury.
Prosecutors say the couple used Craigslist to lure him to a meeting by offering sex.
Barbour has made controversial claims to a local newspaper that she has killed at least 22 people.
She claimed that body parts of her victims could be found in Alaska, Florida and North Carolina.
Authorities have expressed skepticism that she is a serial killer, noting her petite size and a lack of corroborating evidence.
Video footage played in court on Tuesday showed Barbour arguing with a trooper asking for her cellphone, which he took after physically restraining her.
The defense attorney argued the video was evidence that police knew she was a suspect and should have provided legal counsel.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Andrew Hay)
[Image: Miranda Barbour, 19, the woman dubbed the so-called Craigslist killer suspect, is led into court by sheriff deputies in Sunbury, Pennsylvania April 1, 2014. By Mark Makela for Reuters.]