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Blood Tests Continue To Take Center Stage In Cyanide Poisoning Trial

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –Testimony in the trial of a University of Pittsburgh researcher accused of poisoning his wife with cyanide last year continued Thursday.

For the second straight day, testimony revolved around samples of Dr. Autumn Klein's blood.

There was a third testing of her blood at NMS Labs in Willowbrook, Pennsylvania, but their first test was aborted because control techniques failed.

However, a retest found a positive result for cyanide, but only between the low and moderate range.

NMS technicians also testified that their most updated testing machine was not working properly.

They took the stand after representatives from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office testified that they found positive results for cyanide in both the whole blood and plasma of Klein.

The jury also heard explosive emails from Klein to her husband, apparently angry about his attitude toward her attempts to get pregnant. The emails were sent about two months before she died.

Klein's attempts to get pregnant have been noted often in the trial, but the emails she sent showed both her frustration with the process and with her husband.

In February, just two months before she collapsed, there was this email from her to him:

"I hate to say it Bob, but through this entire mess, while in body you have done your duty, you have not been there for me. Sorry, I am angry about all of this - both not having another kid and your lack of interest. Yes, this is what has been telling me you do not want another kid - anytime you want something you are like a dog with a bone."

She challenged his emotional concern for her, accusing him of showing more interest in work issues than her. The prosecution painting him as controlling and uncaring.

Another email said: "I have tried to talk to you but can't... I don't know where things are going to go and you may not like what you hear, but I think it is about time we talked..."

Earlier in the day, Klein's cousin, Susan King from Bellingham, Washington, tearfully testified about what Ferrante told her by long distance phone call about Klein's collapse.

She says Ferrante told her his wife hadn't felt good earlier that day, and that medics told him there was nothing they could do.

"He said he has a lot of connections, and he was using those connections to find out what happened to her," testified King. "He said she had been complaining of headaches and that there was a chemical storm in her brain that overloaded her heart."

"He said there was no need for an autopsy because they figured it out," she said.

Testimony ended for the day around 4 p.m. as both sides videotape the testimony of a defense expert who was only available today. His testimony will be played for the jury next week during the defense case.

On Wednesday, testimony centered on the blood tests conducted at the Quest Diagnostic lab in Chantilly, Virginia.

The original reading showed cyanide levels of 2.2 milligrams per liter, but was changed by a technician who reviewed it to 3.35 milligrams per liter.

The defense claims the higher number was used when police decided to charge Robert Ferrante with murder, but later the report was revised to reflect the original 2.2 number. The technician who revised it upward testified he made a math error.

The prosecution says both numbers reflect lethal doses of cyanide.

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