Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Detective Details Suicide Letter Written by Ferrante to Children

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Detective Details Suicide Letter Written by Ferrante to Children

Article excerpt

Robert Ferrante sat at the defense table, his hands clasped under his chin, glasses off, a tear streaming down his cheek as an Allegheny County detective read letters he wrote - but later shredded - to his children.

The goodbye letters, to his sister, two adult children and then 6-year-old daughter, were written on May 10, 2013. The same date he wrote a suicide letter, as well.

"While I remain steadfastly adamant I did not take Autumn's life, I no longer have the strength to carry the weight of losing her. ... It has been too great a weight for me to carry. I feel as a pariah in my community."

The letters, read into the record by Detective Jackelyn Weibel, were the most compelling evidence during a day packed with it. Mr. Ferrante is accused of killing his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, in April 2013. The chief of women's neurology for UPMC Presbyterian and Magee-Womens hospitals collapsed on April 17 and died three days later.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Klein's mother testified about what she called Mr. Ferrante's "fake" emotion when she arrived at the couple's home from Maryland the morning after the collapse, and later Tuesday, a state trooper recounted the dozens of searches conducted and websites visited on a laptop computer found locked inside a safe in Mr. Ferrante's lab office.

But it was the letters that captured the day.

Discovered in a shredder in the home office of Mr. Ferrante during a search on May 28, the letters had to be reconstructed by investigators.

"It was a very tedious process," Detective Weibel said.

The suicide letter addressed to his children and sister expresses his love for them and regret.

"The memories I have had with each one of you, and as a family together, would carry multiple lifetimes for any person," he wrote. "I want you to remember those times and keep them close to your heart and in your mind, not the horrific and inexplicable events that have happened over the past three weeks.

"This experience has taken an incredible toll on me - one that I can no longer burden."

Mr. Ferrante, now 66, implores his adult children, Kimberly and Michael, to care for his younger daughter.

"Let her know how deeply I love her and how important it is for her to belong to this family, and that I will be with her in spirit forever."

He concluded with, "I am so sorry for not physically remaining in your lives. I am with Autumn."

The letters to Mr. Ferrante's children recounted their childhoods, favorite memories he had with them and his pride at who they had become.

"Your success has been nothing short of remarkable, just stellar," he wrote to his daughter, Kimberly, a physician. "I am so very proud of who you are and what you have become. It is imperative that you remain focused and become the best at what you do, if not for anything else, but in memory of me. …

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