SUNBURY, Pa. - A newlywed couple whose Craigslist ad lured a stranger to his death was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole, by a judge who said their "permanent removal" from society is appropriate.
Neither 19-year-old Miranda Barbour nor her 22-year-old husband, Elytte, displayed emotion as they sat with their lawyers in the Pennsylvania courtroom while some of the victims' relatives described their grief and pain since the Nov. 11 murder of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara. Elytte Barbour read a written apology, but said he could not explain his actions.
"Even if they each serve 50 years, they still will not feel any guilt or sympathy," said Holly LaFerrara, the victim's sister. "They completely lack empathy. They have no conscience, no remorse and no moral compass.
"They lack the most basic element of humanity," she said. "These are two fundamentally flawed people who are rotten to the core."
The couple pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, in a plea deal that ruled out the death penalty.
They were married in North Carolina and moved to Pennsylvania about three weeks before they met up with the victim, when he responded to an ad offering female companionship.
Miranda Barbour picked up LaFerrara at a mall in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and drove him to the town of Sunbury. Once they parked, Elytte Barbour came out of his hiding place under a blanket in the back seat and held a cord tight against LaFerrara's neck while his petite wife stabbed the 6-foot-2, 278-pound man about 20 times. They dumped his body in an alley.
Elytte Barbour later told police the couple killed LaFerrara because they wanted to kill someone together.
In separately sentencing the couple, Judge Charles Saylor said he found it difficult to comprehend the Barbours' indifference to the value of human life.
"Poor Mr. LaFerrara had no idea what was about to happen simply by a Craigslist posting," the judge said.
"Justice is being served with your permanent removal from our community and society," Saylor said in sentencing Elytte Barbour.
LaFerrara's widow, Colleen, tearfully described her life without her husband, an avid outdoorsman who held a degree in civil engineering from Penn State.
"He was a sweet and gentle man who would never have hurt anyone," she said.