Doctor accused of poisoning wife faces extradition hearing in W. Va. Monday

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PITTSBURGH - University of Pittsburgh medical researcher Dr. Robert Ferrante, 64, who is charged with fatally poisoning his neurologist wife Dr. Autumn Klein with cyanide is set to spend at least the weekend in a West Virginia Jail, according to Pittsburgh’s district attorney’s office.

Police confirmed that Ferrante is under heavy guard as he awaits his first court appearance.

Pittsburgh criminal attorney Phil Dilucente weighed in on the likelihood that Ferrante will fight extradition back to Pittsburgh.

“It would be in his best interest to waive extradition,” said Dilucente. “I’m certain as a defendant, he would be anxious to deny these charges and put up a vehement defense.”

Police said with the evidence they have, Ferrante will need a good defense lawyer. According to authorities, Ferrante poisoned Klein with deadly cyanide, lacing a supplement with it that he told Klein would help her get pregnant.

Texts messages exchanged between the couple hours before Klein fell ill reveal Ferrante convincing Klein to take the supplement Creatine, police said.

“I’m serious. It will make a huge difference. I’m certain of it,” said Ferrante in a text to Klein.

“I sure hope so,” said Klein in her response.

According to police, Ferrante served Klein a lethal cocktail of Creatine and cyanide because he thought she was having an affair and about to end the marriage.

In Dilucente’s opinion, he said if Ferrante had any of the cyanide mailed to his home in Oakland or to his office at UPMC, his defense lawyer will have a much more difficult job of defending him.

“One could definitely see that this could be a death penalty case,” said Dilucente.

Ferrante’s attorney Bill Defenderfer told Channel 11 that Ferrante will not fight extradition. In fact, Defenderfer said his client was on his way back to Pittsburgh from Flordia to turn himself into police.