PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Robert Ferrante will still be tried in the Allegheny County Courthouse, but the jury that will hear his case will come from a different county.

A few weeks ago, his defense team requested an out of county jury and today the trial judge granted the defense request.

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Ferrante is accused of giving his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, cyanide last April in their Oakland home. She died three days later.

Publicity surrounding the case included search warrants for the defendant’s computer records researching medical procedures and traces of toxins in the body.

That kind of publicity caused to judge to tests local jury pools. A test in February found that 36 of 78 potential jurors heard of the case – 13 had fixed opinions.

Last week: 50 of 67 heard of the case – 35 had fixed opinions.

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Today: 44 of 79 heard of the case – 32 had fixed opinions.

That was enough to convince the judge to bring in an out-of-county jury.

Defense attorney Blaine Jones, who is not affiliated with the Ferrante case, says that decision is always made out of an abundance of caution.

“This case generated a significant amount of local media attention,” says Jones. “All parties defense prosecution the judge they all want to err on the side of caution and get a jury pool that’s not perhaps tainted by what they’ve already heard and formed an opinion.”

Jury selection for Ferrante is scheduled to begin in August, and the trial itself is scheduled for September. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts will select the county from which the jury will be chosen.

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In 2011 a jury from Dauphin County came to Allegheny County and convicted Richard Poplawski in the deaths of three Pittsburgh Police officers. The cost of putting them up in a local hotel for 10 days plus the cost of sheriff’s department overtime added up to more than $107,000.


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David Highfield