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Reporter testimony sought in 'Craigslist killer' case

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Prosecutors pressing charges against the so-called Craigslist murder suspect, who told a small newspaper in Pennsylvania that she was a serial killer, head to court this week hoping to force the reporter to testify about the jailhouse interview.

Miranda Barbour, who is charged in the murder of a Pennsylvania man she allegedly lured via the website Craigslist, reportedly claimed in the interview last month that she was part of a satanic cult and had committed at least 22 other killings.

Northumberland County District Attorney Anthony Rosini said he plans to argue in court on Friday that Francis Scarcella, a courthouse reporter for Pennsylvania's Sunbury Daily Item, should be compelled to testify about the interview he conducted in county prison with 19-year-old Barbour in February.

Questions have been raised about Barbour's jailhouse claims, given her petite size and a lack of corroborating evidence.

Rosini said on Thursday he is not after any notes or confidential sources, and that he is only seeking Scarcella's testimony about the interview.

A subpoena has been issued for Scarcella's testimony.

Gary Grossman, publisher of the Daily Item, said prison policy forbid the reporter to bring a pen or notebook to the interview. He said the prison taped the interview and the recording would provide a better account of what Barbour said.

Barbour and her husband, Elytte Barbour, 21, have pleaded not guilty to the November 2013 fatal stabbing of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton, Pennsylvania. If convicted, they face the possibility of the death penalty.

Prosecutors say the couple used the Craigslist classified ad website to lure him to a meeting in a shopping mall parking lot.

Miranda Barbour is being held at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, a maximum security women's prison.

Prison spokesman Troy Edwards said Scarcella interviewed her again earlier this week, but no recording was made of the session. Grossman said the Daily Item has not published anything yet from the second interview.

In the jailhouse interview that was published, Barbour said she had killed at least 22 people over the last six years in different parts of the country, including Alaska, California, Texas and North Carolina, according to the Daily Item article.

She said she started with a man she claimed to have shot to death in Alaska when she was 13, it said.

"When I hit 22, I stopped counting," she said in the article.

Barbour's father has described his daughter as a manipulative liar and said he does not believe she is a serial killer.

"Miranda lives in a fantasy world made up in her own mind," Sonny Dean told the Daily Item after her claims were published. "She craves attention, is selfish, dishonest and manipulative."

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)

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