HARRISBURG, Pa., April 1 (Reuters) - A woman dubbed the “Craigslist killer” suspect makes her first court appearance on Tuesday in Pennsylvania since making controversial claims that she is a serial killer with at least 22 victims.
Miranda Barbour, 19, and her husband, Elytte Barbour, 22, have pleaded not guilty to the stabbing and strangling in November of Troy LaFerrara, 42, whose body was found dumped in an alley in Sunbury.
Prosecutors say the couple used the Craigslist classified ad website to lure him to a meeting, offering sex, in a shopping mall parking lot. If convicted, they face the possibility of the death penalty.
Miranda Barbour was scheduled on Tuesday morning to appear in Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
Edward Greco, her public defender attorney, said on Monday he will pursue a habeus corpus petition at the hearing, essentially asking prosecutors to justify their arrest of his client.
He said he also would challenge the aggravating circumstances that District Attorney Anthony Rosini has presented in court to justify seeking the death penalty.
Greco also said he will ask the court for permission to hire an expert to examine the hard drives of computers owned by the victim and his mother, Harriett Ferrara. The hard drives are in the custody of the Sunbury police.
Barbour has said in two jailhouse interviews published by a local newspaper that she has killed at least 22 people around the country, including Alaska, Florida and North Carolina.
Authorities have expressed skepticism about her statements that she is a serial killer, noting her petite size and a lack of corroborating evidence.
In the first interview published in February by Sunbury’s Daily Item newspaper, she said she was a member of a satanic cult.
In the second interview published on Sunday, she said two other men responded to her online post but failed to show up to their planned meetings.
She said in the second interview to have dumped body parts of a victim in Big Lake, Alaska, other body parts in the area of Mexico Beach, Florida and a body, apparently intact, along Interstate 95 near Raleigh, North Carolina.
On Monday, Rosini declined comment on the Daily Item interview.
A spokesman for the Raleigh police said on Monday that while the interstate is not part of his department’s jurisdiction, the report of a body does not appear to relate to any unsolved homicides in the area.
A spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers said the department was aware of Barbour’s claims and will investigate if “credible leads or evidence” become available.
Police in Mexico Beach, Florida, did not respond to requests for comment. (Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Walsh)