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Robert Ferrante's latest appeal in wife's cyanide death mostly denied, with one exception

PITTSBURGH — An appeal by a former University of Pittsburgh researcher found guilty of poisoning his wife to death with cyanide has been mostly denied, with one exception.

In his latest appeal, Dr. Robert Ferrante, 70, claimed he had ineffective council during the trial for the 2013 death of his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein. He was found guilty in 2014 and he is serving a life sentence.

In a 35-page judgment, the Judge Jeffrey Manning made it clear he disagrees, denying most of the appeal. But the question he left standing is whether Ferrante’s lawyers made a mistake by not having his high-profile case reviewed by an out-of-town jury.

Ferrante’s lawyers withdrew the initial paperwork for that in 2014.

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In denying all of Ferrante’s other concerns, Manning stressed the evidence played a key role.

Channel 11 legal expert, attorney Phil DiLucente, had the following to say about the case and the biggest sticking points moving forward:

“There’s two issues. One was the change of venire, meaning picking a jury outside of Allegheny County, and the other more narrow issue I believe Judge Manning is going to have a hearing on is whether or not they were ineffective, meaning his counsel with not challenging the scientific lab studies of the toxins that were in the liver.”

Ferrante’s attorney now has 45 days to file a new petition.