On November 11, 2013, engineer Troy LaFerrara was murdered. A couple, Miranda Barbour and her husband, Elytte, were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the murder in September of 2014.
The murder gained national attention when one of the killers claimed that she had murdered at least 22 other people.
Miranda Barbour, born December 14, 1994, claimed that she was molested by a relative when she was 4 years old. Her mother confirmed her account, claiming that her uncle was charged with her sexual abuse and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The abuse put her life on a downward spiral. At the age of 13, she claimed she joined a satanic cult and soon after, committed her first murder. Allegedly, the cult leader forced her to shoot a man dead who was, in some way, indebted to their cult. She said that, between the years of 2008 and 2013 (when she would have been 14 to 19 years old) she killed 22 people. This claim triggered worldwide media attention and investigations by the FBI and other police forces.
The Northumberland County District Attorney said in an interview that he was skeptical of the claims, saying they had been in contact with law enforcement in areas where she had lived, with no such claims ringing true.
Her partner in crime, Elytte Barbour, born November 11, 1991, graduated from Triton High School in 2010 and married Miranda in 2013. They were living in Dunn, North Carolina at the time. He would later tell police that he and his wife of only 3 weeks wanted to kill together.
Troy LaFerrara was born on June 20, 1971 in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. He was 42 years old, and had married his beloved wife, Colleen, just 2 years earlier on June 11, 2011, after being together for 8 years.
He spent all of his life in Pennsylvania. He grew up and attended high school in Port Treverton, and after high school, attended Pennsylvania State University. There, he received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering. School didn't stop there for him: He went on to get his professional engineer's license, his professional land surveyor's license, and his sewage enforcement officer license.
At the time of his death, he was a busy man. He was working full time as the senior resident engineer at the Lycoming County Landfill, and in addition, he was a member of the Chapman-Union Sewage Authority. Between 2010-2011, he was a member of the Port Treverton township board as a roadmaster.
Troy loved hunting and could always be found in the woods during hunting season, with interests in both archery and rifles. He also did trap shoots and clay shoots with friends on the weekend. Even when he wasn't hunting, he was typically watching a hunting show or shooting with his bow or rifle.
He was survived by his wife, Colleen, as well as his mother, his sister, and a variety of other beloved relatives.
The Barbours met Troy LaFerrara through Craigslist, when Miranda offered to have sex with him in exchange for money. "She is not a prostitute," Elytte said in an interview. He claimed that she would often meet men in broken relationships, or who didn't have a woman in their life, just to have a "delightful conversation". It is unclear whether the LaFerrara's marriage was stable, or if he was trying to cheat on his wife. I say it doesn't really matter. By Miranda's account, she was expecting $100 for sex.
Troy met Miranda on November 11, 2013 in the parking lot at the Susquehanna Valley Mall in Hummels Wharf, Pennsylvania. After they settled on a payment, they drove 6 miles to Sunbury. Originally, Miranda told police that she had killed Troy in self defense after he groped her. But her husband had a different story to tell.
During their drive, Elytte was hiding under a blanket in the backseat, waiting. Once it was time, Miranda signaled to her husband, who jumped out from the back seat and wrapped a cord around Troy's neck. While he strangled the life from him, Miranda stabbed him 20 times.
After the thrill kill, the couple dumped Troy's body in a residential backyard in Sunbury. While they drove around looking for a spot to dump him, Troy was still clinging to life, gasping for air through 20 stab wounds.
After they dumped his body, they went to buy cleaning supplies to remove blood from the vehicle. Then they drove to a strip club to celebrate Elytte's 22nd birthday. When they were caught, Elytte told police that they had killed him just because they wanted to murder someone together. They weren't caught until early December, Miranda being arrested on December 3 and Elytte following on December 6.
Initially, the Barbours declined even knowing Troy. But when investigators were able to trace Troy's last call to Miranda's phone, they knew they were screwed. Their story went back and forth, from self defense to a premeditated murder, scheduled for their 3 week wedding anniversary.
The couple, to the surprise of many, entered into a plea agreement during a scheduled court hearing. Instead of going to trial with the chance of facing the death penalty, they will now just spent their young lives in prison.
Troy's wife, Colleen, said that she was relieved to hear the news. "My main concern was hat they not be able to do this to anyone else, put anyone else through this," she said of the murder of her husband. She said that they did it for 15 minutes of fame, and wished that people would stop giving them the recognition they so deeply desired.
"I hope they rot in hell," Colleen said.
During sentencing in September of 2014, Miranda remained stone cold. She had nothing to say to the family, and remained stoic through the whole affair. Her husband, Elytte, expressed his (hopefully) sincere remorse.
"There are no words to say how sorry I am for committing this act," he said, saying that if he could go back in time, he would never have done this. "I regret taking this man from his home. I hope they can find it in their heart to forgive me for my sins." He said that the crime misrepresents the person he is.
Despite his perceived remorse, while in prison, he got a teardrop tattoo symbolizing the murder he committed, so one could argue he doesn't really care. Troy's sister agrees with this. "They will not feel any guilt or sympathy because they are not capable of such feelings. They completely lack empathy. They have no conscience, no remorse, no moral compass. They lack the most basic elements of humanity," Holly LaFerrara said during the sentencing trial.
The judge in the sentencing, Charles H. Saylor, moderately sympathized with Miranda for her difficult childhood. However, when sentencing her to life behind bars, he said, "today will bring some kind of closure as you are permanently removed from society."
In September of 2018, Miranda's first request for a reevaluation of her sentence was denied, by none other than Judge Saylor. She acted as her own attorney and filed the paperwork, claiming that she could be rehabilitated, and thus a life sentence was unconstitutional. She cited her difficult life, sexual abuse at a young age, drug use, depression, and an extremely low IQ. Saylor threw the appeal out, claiming it had no merit.
Despite a sensational account of somewhere between 22-100 murders, there is no evidence linking Miranda to any other deaths. Extensive investigation has proved fruitless and law enforcement, along with her family, believe that she is lying about her criminal history. She only killed 1 man, and that man was Troy LaFerrara.
My heart truly breaks for Colleen. Not only did she lose her husband, she lost him in a deeply brutal fashion and had to come face to face with the people who heartlessly took his life. But beyond that, he was, for one reason or another, meeting up with another woman that night. Whether for companionship or sex, she has to live with the fact that her husband was seeking out someone else in his final moments, and he would be alive if he didn't. (For the record, I am 10000% not blaming Colleen for him "straying", that is entirely on him. And also for the record, I'm 10000% not blaming Troy for the subsequent murder, that is entirely on the killers.) That is just a really, really hard way to lose someone you love.
It is so scary to think that there are a lot of people in the world like the Barbours: People who just want to kill. For no reason at all, just for the thrill of doing it. It is so horrifying, and such a scary and unnecessary way to die.
Rot in prison, Melissa and Elytte. Rest in peace, Troy.