Lawyer: Cyanide suspect will OK extradition
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A University of Pittsburgh medical researcher accused of fatally poisoning his neurologist wife with cyanide will agree to be transported back to Pennsylvania to face charges, his attorney said.
Dr. Robert Ferrante intends to waive extradition at a hearing Monday in West Virginia, where he was taken into custody Thursday, said attorney William Difenderfer.
Difenderfer said his client wasn’t trying to flee charges in the death of 41-year-old UPMC neurologist Autumn Marie Klein when he left Florida and began driving north.
He said he had called his client and told him to return to Pittsburgh to surrender, and his client was “on his way to turn himself in.”
Ferrante is a leading researcher on Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles, eventually leading to death.
Klein, chief of women’s neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, died April 20 after falling ill at home three days earlier. Blood tests revealed a lethal level of cyanide but only after Klein had died and been cremated at her husband’s insistence, police said.
Prosecutors allege that Ferrante, co-director of the Center for ALS Research and a visiting professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, had used a university credit card to buy more than a half-pound of cyanide two days before his wife fell ill.
The attorney said Ferrante maintains his innocence.
“My guy is adamant that he was not involved,” Difenderfer said.