Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferrante Guilty Jury Convicts Pitt Researcher in Poisoning Death of Wife

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferrante Guilty Jury Convicts Pitt Researcher in Poisoning Death of Wife

Article excerpt

Autumn Klein's family sat in the front row of the gallery, each person clasping the hand of their loved one next to them.

Their eyes already were brimming with tears before the jurors filed into the room.

And at 6:49 p.m. Friday, as the foreman read the verdict, Lois Klein's whole body quaked. She cried silently as her son-in-law, Robert Ferrante, was pronounced guilty of first-degree murder for killing her only child.

He will be sentenced on Feb. 4 to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.

Mr. Ferrante, a 66-year-old neuroresearcher, showed no emotion aside from letting out a deep breath.

His daughter, Kimberly Ferrante, who sat in the row behind her father and had testified for him, lay her head on her brother's shoulder and closed her eyes.

The case that shocked the University of Pittsburgh and the couple's friends and former colleagues in Boston, finally ended after 18 months.

"While we are pleased that the person responsible for Autumn's death has been brought to justice, nothing will ever fill the emptiness that we feel in our family and in our hearts," said Lois and William Klein in a statement. "Someone once said that when someone you love dies so young, you can either be sad at what will never be, or be joyful of the time you had with that person.

"We will always enjoy the memory of Autumn's time with us, but it is hard not to be forever saddened by the time that has been so cruelly taken away."

Mr. Ferrante was found guilty of poisoning his wife with cyanide late on April 17, 2013, in their home after she returned from a 15- hour day at work.

Dr. Klein, 41, collapsed and was taken to UPMC Presbyterian, where she remained on life support until April 20, 2013, when she was declared dead.

Soon after her death, the Allegheny County medical examiner's office learned that a hospital blood test revealed Dr. Klein had a fatal level of cyanide in her blood, and Pittsburgh police quickly zeroed in on Mr. Ferrante as a suspect.

They learned that he had ordered a 250-gram bottle of potassium cyanide for overnight delivery on April 15, 2013, even though his colleagues said there was no ongoing project that would have required the toxin. …

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