SUNBURY, Pa. – The Pennsylvania couple who lured a stranger to his death with an online companionship ad were sentenced to life without parole Thursday under a plea bargain agreement that allowed them to escape the death penalty.
Judge Charles Saylor described the ambush murder as a “heinous crime (requiring) your permanent removal from our community and society.” He said the victim “had no idea what was about to happen to him simply by a Craigslist posting.”
Prosecutors agreed to allow Elytte (22) and Miranda (19) Barbour to plead guilty to second-degree murder a month ago in the stabbing-and-strangulation slaying of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton, Pa., last November. The victim had answered the wife’s online ad promising companionship.
The Barbours confessed to police they wanted to celebrate their recent marriage with “the thrill of murder.” Miranda also told a reporter for the Sunbury Daily Item in a jailhouse interview in April that she had committed at least 22 other murders in several states as the member of a satanic cult.
Miranda said nothing at the Thursday sentencing in Northumberland County Court. But her husband apologized to the victim’s family. “I regret taking this man from his home,” he said. “I hope they can find it in their heart to forgive me for my sins.”
The victim’s sister, Holly LaFerrara, rejected the notion of forgiveness. She described the Barbours as unworthy of compassion.
“They have no conscience, no remorse and no moral compass,” she said. “They lack the most basic element of humanity. These are two fundamentally flawed people who are rotten to the core."
Judge Saylor took note of Miranda Barbour’s shocking statements about being a serial killer even though authorities have thus far connected no other murder to her.
“Your conduct has drawn a lot of attention to you,” he said. “I have no real basis to accept the sensationalism or to act on any of these extrajudicial statements that have been reported. The facts of record (LaFerrara’s murder) are difficult enough to comprehend.”
The judge added: “The senseless acts here not only ended a life, but the tragedy triggered devastation for the family, pain and emptiness, as they have expressed here today. It raised a lot of concern in our community and beyond that we must always be wary for our personal safety.”
Details for this story were provided by the Sunbury, Pa., Daily Item.