Neurologist Charged with Murder

A neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh is accused of using cyanide to kill his wife, a fellow neurologist at the same institution.

By | August 1, 2013

Robert Ferrante and Autumn KleinFOX NEWSRobert Ferrante, a professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), was last week (July 26) charged with the murder of his wife, Autumn Klein, also a neurologist at UPMC, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

According to an affidavit released by the Allegheny County district attorney's office, Ferrante, 64, allegedly poisoned Klein, 41, on April 17 with cyanide that he had purchased with a university credit a few days earlier. She died 3 days later.

Klein was chief of women’s neurology at UPMC. In a Post-Gazette obituary, UPMC colleague Robert Friedlander described her as “a gifted clinician and a rising star.”

The affidavit depicted a troubled marriage, revealing that Klein had told a friend in February that she was planning to leave Ferrante, and that he had accused her of having an affair several times in the weeks leading up to her death. According to the affidavit, on April 15 Ferrante enlisted the help of a lab member to have “the best and purest cyanide he could get” delivered to the lab the next day. He then allegedly mixed the cyanide with creatine and persuaded Klein to drink it by telling her it would help them to conceive a child.

Ferrante’s attorney, William Difenderfer, told CBSNews that his client is devastated by the death of his wife, that he is innocent, and that he will fight the charges. “He is adamant that he is innocent,” Difenderfer said. “I believe him and I’m sure it’ll be a hell of a trial.”  

Ferrante pleaded not guilty earlier this week (July 30). He will appear in Allegheny County Court on September 23 for a preliminary hearing.

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Comments

Avatar of: Eric J. Murphy

Eric J. Murphy

Posts: 20

August 1, 2013

An important point to clairfy is whether or not the gentleman is a neurologist.  Neurological surgery is neurosurgery, which makes him a surgeon, not a neurologist.  Neurology is out of the internal medicine side of medicine, not surgery. 

This should be checked and corrected if indeed he is a neurosurgeon. 

 

Avatar of: Sci in BOS

Sci in BOS

Posts: 4

December 10, 2017

This is a wrongful conviction case.  Autumn Klein, the researcher's wife, never died of cyanide poisoning.  This can be defeinitively established by examining the timeline, the dosage and the diagnostic method.  Cyanide was supposedly measured 15 hrs after Autumn Klein consumed it, yet it cyanide has a half-life of only 10-30mins.  Meanwhile, thiocyanate, the main metyabolite, was measured to be zero.  Autumn Klein never exhibited classic cyanide poisoning symptoms, and was successfully resusciatated, before being declare brain dead three days later.  The cyanide measurement was performed with a colorimatric assay whie the thiocyanate was measured using LC/MS.  Clearly, a false positive.  My guess: Lipid peroxidation as a result of reperfusion injury results in malondialdehyde (the TBARS agent), and MDA cross-reacts with the pyridine-barbiturate reagent used in the cyanide test.  Note the chemistries of the conway cyanide method and the TBARS reaction are virtually identical.

Avatar of: Sci in BOS

Sci in BOS

Posts: 4

December 10, 2017

This is a wrongful conviction case.  Autumn Klein, the researcher's wife, never died of cyanide poisoning.  This can be defeinitively established by examining the timeline, the dosage and the diagnostic method.  Cyanide was supposedly measured 15 hrs after Autumn Klein consumed it, yet cyanide has a half-life of only 10-30mins.  Meanwhile, thiocyanate, the main metyabolite, was measured to be zero.  Autumn Klein never exhibited classic cyanide poisoning symptoms, and was successfully resusciatated, before being declare brain dead three days later.  The cyanide measurement was performed with a colorimatric assay whie the thiocyanate was measured using LC/MS.  Clearly, a false positive.  My guess: Lipid peroxidation as a result of reperfusion injury results in malondialdehyde (the TBARS agent), and MDA cross-reacts with the pyridine-barbiturate reagent used in the cyanide test.  Note the chemistries of the conway cyanide method and the TBARS reaction are virtually identical.

Avatar of: Sci in BOS

Sci in BOS

Posts: 4

December 10, 2017

This is a wrongful conviction case.  Autumn Klein, the researcher's wife, never died of cyanide poisoning.  This can be defeinitively established by examining the timeline, the dosage and the diagnostic method.  Cyanide was supposedly measured 15 hrs after Autumn Klein consumed it, yet cyanide has a half-life of only 10-30mins.  Meanwhile, thiocyanate, the main metyabolite, was measured to be zero.  Autumn Klein never exhibited classic cyanide poisoning symptoms, and was successfully resusciatated, before being declare brain dead three days later.  The cyanide measurement was performed with a colorimatric assay whie the thiocyanate was measured using LC/MS.  Clearly, a false positive.  My guess: Lipid peroxidation as a result of reperfusion injury results in malondialdehyde (the TBARS agent), and MDA cross-reacts with the pyridine-barbiturate reagent used in the cyanide test.  Note the chemistries of the conway cyanide method and the TBARS reaction are virtually identical.

Avatar of: Sci in BOS

Sci in BOS

Posts: 4

December 10, 2017

 

 

This is a wrongful conviction case.  Autumn Klein, the researcher's wife, never died of cyanide poisoning.  This can be defeinitively established by examining the timeline, the dosage and the diagnostic method.  Cyanide was supposedly measured 15 hrs after Autumn Klein consumed it, yet cyanide has a half-life of only 10-30mins.  Meanwhile, thiocyanate, the main metyabolite, was measured to be zero.  Autumn Klein never exhibited classic cyanide poisoning symptoms, and was successfully resusciatated, before being declare brain dead three days later.  The cyanide measurement was performed with a colorimetric assay whie the thiocyanate was measured using LC/MS.  Clearly, a false positive.  My guess: Lipid peroxidation as a result of reperfusion injury results in malondialdehyde (the TBARS agent), and MDA cross-reacts with the pyridine-barbiturate reagent used in the cyanide test.  Note the chemistries of the conway cyanide method and the TBARS reaction are virtually identical.

 

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