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.

Aug 1, 2013
Dan Cossins

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.