Former University of Pittsburgh medical researcher loses appeal in wife’s cyanide death

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A judge has dismissed the only remaining appeal issue for a former University of Pittsburgh medical researcher convicted in what prosecutors said was the cyanide poisoning death of his wife nearly a decade ago.

Robert Ferrante, 73, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole following his conviction for murder in the death of Dr Autumn Klein, 41, who collapsed at the couple’s Schenley Farms home in April 2013 and died three days later.

Authorities said blood tests later confirmed that Klein, a women’s neurologist at UPMC Presbyterian, died of cyanide poisoning. Allegheny County prosecutors alleged Ferrante put cyanide in her energy drink, which text messages show he urged her to drink to improve her fertility. Ferrante acknowledged ordering cyanide in the weeks before Klein’s death, but said it was related to his well-known research into Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Nearly three years ago, a judge dismissed most of Ferrante’s appeal arguments, but said he had grounds for a hearing into whether his previous lawyers erred in withdrawing a asks to have his case heard by a jury chosen in another county.

The Tribune-Review reports that Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Bruce Beemer ruled Thursday that Ferrante failed to show that a former attorney had no reason to drop a jury’s offer. outside and that the decision had harmed the case. He also declined to reconsider other appeal arguments rejected by another judge.

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