HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - A young married couple who admitted using Craigslist to lure a victim for a thrill-killing, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder and other charges in a move that will spare them the death penalty under Pennsylvania law.
Miranda Barbour, 19, and Elytte Barbour, 22, who lived in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, face mandatory life sentences without parole for the Nov. 11, 2013, murder of Troy LaFerrara, 42.
The woman said she used a Craigslist ad seeking “companionship” to lure the victim to a shopping mall parking lot near their home. She said the couple had tried that unsuccessfully with other men.
Authorities said that after LaFerrara got into her car, her husband, who was hiding in the back seat, reached over and began to choke him while she stabbed the victim.
Barbour and her husband stabbed LaFerrara 20 times and dumped his body in an alley, authorities said, adding the killing took place on their three-week wedding anniversary and that they celebrated in a Harrisburg strip club after cleaning their car of blood.
District Attorney Ann Targonski said Elytte Barbour wanted to avoid the death penalty and cut a deal with her office.
Part of that deal was that he testify against his wife at her trial. Targonski said Pennsylvania’s spousal privilege law barred his testimony about personal communications with his wife but let him talk about actions by her that he observed.
That deal, plus negative court rulings on pretrial motions during the summer, led Barbour’s wife also to plead guilty, Targonski said.
Miranda Barbour, who grew up in Wasilla, Alaska, has made a number of claims to have been a serial killer, authorities said, but none of them could be corroborated.
Members of her family appeared on the “Dr. Phil Show” to describe her awful childhood.
The couple faces sentencing on Sept. 18.
Editing by Frank McGurty and Peter Cooney