Ferrante trial costs taxpayers $12,730
The Allegheny County jury that convicted University of Pittsburgh researcher Robert Ferrante of poisoning his wife with cyanide rang up $12,730 in expenses, lower than other recent major trials.
About half of the taxpayer cost — $6,383 — was because of sequestering the jury of eight men and four women in the DoubleTree Downtown. The next largest expense was the jurors’ pay, which totaled $3,982 and $687 in mileage for the 12-day trial.
Pennsylvania jurors are paid $9 a day for the first three days of a case and $25 a day after that. Pay for four alternate jurors who were released before deliberations is included in the cost.
Other costs included:
• $323 for a dinner at the Carlton restaurant during deliberations
• $135 for a Jimmy Johns lunch
• $120 for lunch from the Apollo
Common Pleas President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning said costs were reasonable considering the length and scope of the trial.
“Had we picked a jury in Dauphin County, the costs would have been much, much higher,” Manning said.
Manning said jurors deserved to be paid more for their service, but the pay is set by the Legislature.
“They should at least be compensated for their expenses, and it really doesn’t even cover that,” Manning said.
The Ferrante jury’s costs pale in comparison to the $64,176 in expenses a Dauphin County jury compiled before convicting Pittsburgh cop killer Richard Poplawski in 2011 and sentencing him to death.
That jury was sequestered during the entirety of the trial.
Taxpayers paid $25,651 in 2012 for the jury that convicted former state Sen. Jane Orie of using her state-paid staff to do political work for her benefit.
Ferrante’s jury was sequestered two days with one overnight stay.
The jury convicted Ferrante, 66, on Nov. 7 of first-degree murder for poisoning his wife, noted UPMC neurologist Dr. Autumn Klein, 41. She collapsed April 17, 2013, in their Oakland home and died three days later.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886. or [email protected].