Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferrante Sued by Murdered Wife's Family Civil Claim on Researcher's Assets Left for Daughter

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferrante Sued by Murdered Wife's Family Civil Claim on Researcher's Assets Left for Daughter

Article excerpt

An attorney representing Autumn Klein's mother and daughter today sued Robert Ferrante, the University of Pittsburgh medical researcher who was found guilty last week of fatally poisoning his wife, Dr. Klein, with cyanide last year.

The suit was filed by John P. Gismondi in Allegheny County Court.

"Mr. Ferrante has assets and the purpose of this civil claim is to make sure that those assets are obtained for [daughter] Cianna's benefit," Mr. Gismondi said in a statement.

Court records showed that Mr. Ferrante, 66, of Oakland, had about $2.5 million in assets before the criminal trial started. It ended last Friday when a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the death last year of Dr. Klein.

Mr. Ferrante was allowed to tap his assets for legal expenses. It is unclear how much remains.

Mr. Ferrante's assets were the subject of a legal battle prior to the trial. In February, Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled that Mr. Ferrante could have access to what was reported at the time to be some $2.2 million to pay his attorneys and costs associated with the case against him, as well as to pay child support for Cianna.

Prosecutors in August 2013 obtained a temporary restraining order freezing Mr. Ferrante's assets.

They argued that his daughter may be entitled to restitution if he were convicted and that under a wrongful death action, it could be proven that Dr. Klein's lost wages amounted to $5 million to $6 million.

But in a motion filed in January, Mr. Ferrante's defense attorneys said the $243,000 left accessible to pay for his criminal defense was not enough.

Mr. Ferrante faces a mandatory term of life in prison.

"Since it has been legally determined that he is responsible for Autumn's death, it is only fair that whatever money he has should go to Autumn's family and Cianna," Mr. Gismondi said.

The suit was filed in the names of both Cianna, 7, and Lois Klein.

Mr. Gismondi said the suit was primarily filed to protect Cianna's interests.

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

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