September 18, 2014 / 5:51 PM / 5 years ago

Pennsylvania newlyweds get life without parole in Craigslist killing

(Reuters) - The Pennsylvania newlyweds who admitted using Craigslist to lure a victim for a thrill-killing were sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without parole in a plea deal that spared them from the death penalty, a defense spokeswoman said.

The sentencing of Miranda Barbour, 19, and her husband, Elytte Barbour, 22, came about a month after they pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Nov. 11, 2013, killing of Troy LaFerrara, 42. Both were originally charged with first-degree murder, punishable in Pennsylvania by a possible death sentence.

In the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday, Elytte Barbour apologized to the victim’s family and his own father in the courtroom, saying he did not know why he committed the crime, District Attorney Ann Targonski said.

Judge Charles Saylor then sentenced the couple to life in prison without the possibility of parole, said a spokeswoman for Edward Greco, Miranda Barbour’s public defender.

The couple used a Craigslist ad seeking “companionship” to lure LaFerrara to a shopping mall parking lot near their home in the central Pennsylvania town of Selinsgrove, police said.

The couple had reached out unsuccessfully to other men before the ruse finally worked with LaFerrara.

After LaFerrara got into Miranda Barbour’s car, her husband, who was hiding in the back seat, reached over and began to choke him while she stabbed the victim, police said.

LaFerrara’s body, with 20 stab wounds, was dumped in an alley, authorities said.

The killing took place on the couple’s three-week wedding anniversary, which also was the husband’s birthday, authorities said. After cleaning the blood from their car, they celebrated in a strip club, police said.

“It was extremely heinous,” Targonski said. “They did this so they could have some kind of bond together - and then they go out and eat. Very callous.”

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.

Elytte Barbour’s public defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Jim Loney

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