Top Neurologist Murdered, Neuroscientist Husband Accused

Megan Brooks

July 30, 2013

Robert Ferrante, PhD, the University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist accused of fatally poisoning his wife, Autumn Klein, MD, PhD, a neurologist at the university's medical school, will return to Pennsylvania to face charges, according to his attorney William Difenderfer.

Dr. Ferrante, co-director of the Center for ALS Research at the University of Pittsburgh, allegedly laced an energy supplement with cyanide and gave it to Dr. Klein. He was arrested on July 25 in West Virginia.

Dr. Klein, chief of women's neurology at the University of Pittsburgh, died April 20 after suddenly falling ill 3 days earlier. Blood tests showed high levels of cyanide after Dr. Klein died.

Police say 2 days before Dr. Klein became ill, Dr. Ferrante used a university credit card to purchase a large amount of cyanide.

Defense attorney William Difenderfer has reportedly said Dr. Ferrante denies involvement in his wife's death.

The University of Pittsburgh "continues to cooperate fully in the District Attorney's ongoing investigation into the tragic death of Dr. Autumn Klein, who was a respected member of the Pitt faculty," a university statement provided to Medscape Medical News reads.

Dr. Robert Ferrante (left) and Dr. Autumn Klein (right)

"More particularly, we have responded promptly to all requests for documents, have made employees available for interviews and have provided investigators with repeated access to the lab in which her husband, Dr. Ferrante, worked. When the investigation into Dr. Klein's death began to focus on Dr. Ferrante, he was denied access to that lab," the statement reads.

"Based on a review of the allegations in the criminal complaint and its supporting affidavit, which were received and reviewed by the University, Dr. Ferrante has been placed on immediate and indefinite leave," the university reports.

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