PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The trial of a University of Pittsburgh researcher accused of poisoning his wife with cyanide last year is continuing today with testimony from the victim’s mother.
Lois Klein testified that in the early morning hours of April 18, 2013, she got a call from her daughter’s husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, that her daughter, Dr. Autumn Klein, came home from work, kissed him on the cheek as usual, said she didn’t feel well and then collapsed.
It took about four hours for them to get to the house in Pittsburgh, but once they arrive at about 5 a.m., Ferrante wasn’t there. He arrived about 15 minutes later.
“He was faking, making like he was teary-eyed,” Klein testified.
She also said he never told them that she was in the hospital, what hospital she was taken to, or what her condition was.
It wasn’t until 4 p.m. the next afternoon, once his children from a previous marriage arrived that they were taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
They first learned how badly off she was when they saw her, she testified.
“As far as we’re concerned she was gone because she was hooked up to these machines and there were flat lines on the screen,” Klein said.
She testified that she wanted to be part of the conversation with the doctors, but she said Ferrante was “suggesting possible causes, and the doctors would say that’s a possibility, rather than listening to what they had to say.”
Klein testified that she wanted an autopsy “because a healthy 41-year-old woman doesn’t just come home and fall in the floor.”
But Ferrante did not want an autopsy. He theorized she had a heart attack or suffered a “brain surge.”
She said approached a doctor and asked what could be done about an autopsy because, “I, as her mother, wanted it done.”
Late in the day, the prosecution also produced suicide notes from Ferrante that were written to his children. He said he loved his wife very much, did not kill her, but did not want to live without her.
They were found shredded in the garbage.
A state trooper detailed the results of a search of the laptop investigators say Ferrante used and the internet searches made on that computer in the months before and the days after his wife collapsed.
The searches include:
-Malice of forethought
-Suicides Golden Gate Bridge
On the day she collapsed, he allegedly searched hospices near Nemacolin, where the couple was to attend a seminar later in the week.
And two days after she died, he searched:
Medical examiner toxicology studies
Detecting cyanide poisoning
Dialysis removal of toxins
Causes of sudden death
Creatine and cyanide
On Monday, prosecutors introduced the contents of a safe found in Ferrante’s office into the trial.
Inside, they found a computer, small amounts of United States and foreign currency and other personal items. Detectives also testified that they found cyanide in another section of the office, some of which had been there for a long time and was leaking.
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