Young NC couple accused of killing man for thrills
HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. -- A couple married for just three weeks lured a man to his death with a Craigslist ad because they wanted to kill someone together, police said.
Elytte Barbour told officers before his arrest Friday night that he and his wife, Miranda, had planned to kill before, but their plans never worked out until last month when Troy LaFerrara responded to an online posting that promised companionship in return for money, authorities said.
Elytte Barbour told investigators "that they committed the murder because they just wanted to murder someone together," police said in the affidavit.
Elytte Barbour, 22, and Miranda Barbour, 18, face criminal homicide charges in LaFerrara's death. His body was found Nov. 12 in an alley in Sunbury, a small city about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The couple had recently moved to nearby Selinsgrove from Dunn, N.C.
ABC 11 spoke with a friend of the couple, who was a witness at their Lillington wedding.
"We were coworkers and she [Miranda Barbour] asked me to be a witness for her to get married, so I said okay. I just figured I'd be helping her out," said Morgan Brown.
Brown figured that Miranda Barbour was nice enough to help out, but she says there was a hesitation.
"It was kind of shocking, but it wasn't really surprising to a certain extent...It just seemed kind of strange...she just moved here from Alaska, no one really knew what happened there," she said.
No one really knew why Miranda Barbour would move to Coats, N.C., a small town where everyone knows everyone and everything.
Friends say the 18-year-old got to town and worked as a cashier at the local grocery store and dated some guys before meeting 22-year-old Elytte Barbour, a 2010 Triton High School graduate who played in the band and worked at a grill just down the road from his new wife.
Brown says the pair was always together and was excited about their new life together.
"I think they were together 7 months. They were planning on getting married on Halloween, but they decided to do it early...something about insurance...it would help him get on her insurance," she added.
However, after the couple got married; they quit their jobs and moved up to Pennsylvania, where they allegedly killed for the thrill.
"There's really nothing anyone can say, they brought it on themselves," said Brown.
Elytte Barbour has no previous criminal record and had only been accused of a traffic violation that was dismissed.
Sunbury's police chief, Steve Mazzeo, said Saturday he did not want to comment on the case or the couple's motives since it was still an active investigation.
According to Sunbury police, Elytte Barbour told investigators he hid under a blanket in the backseat of the couple's SUV as his wife picked up LaFerrara at a mall Nov. 11. He told police that, on his wife's signal, he wrapped a cord around LaFerrara's neck, restraining him while Miranda Barbour stabbed him.
The 42-year-old Port Trevorton man was stabbed about 20 times, police said.
Miranda Barbour was charged Tuesday, a day after police first contacted her. She initially denied knowing LaFerrara, but her story evolved as investigators gathered evidence, including the discovery that the last call received by the victim's cellphone was made from her number, according to an affidavit in her case.
That affidavit said Miranda Barbour acknowledged meeting the victim in Selinsgrove and driving with him to Sunbury, where they parked. She said LaFerrara groped her and she took a knife from between the front seats and stabbed him after he put his hand around her throat, according to the affidavit.
Police said Miranda Barbour had told them she purchased cleaning supplies at a department store after stabbing LaFerrara, then picked up her husband and took him to a strip club for his birthday. On Friday, police said, Elytte Barbour told them he was the one who had purchased the cleaning products, an account investigators said was backed up by surveillance footage.
Following his wife's arrest, Elytte Barbour told The Daily Item of Sunbury that Miranda Barbour, whom he married Oct. 22, regularly hired herself out as a "companion" to men she met on various websites, a business venture he said he supported because it didn't involve sexual contact.
Barbour said his wife made anywhere from $50 to $850 by meeting with men for such activities as having dinner together or walking around a mall. The ads she placed on websites including Craigslist all said upfront that sex was not part of the deal, he said.
"She is not a prostitute," he said. "What she does is meet men who have broken marriages or have no one in their lives, and she meets with them and has delightful conversation."
Elytte Barbour didn't have an attorney at his arraignment Friday night. Telephone messages left for his wife's public defenders Saturday were not immediately returned.
Investigators also plan to look into the death of a man with whom Miranda Barbour had a 1-year-old child, Mazzeo said, but he would not say if there is a suspicion of foul play.
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