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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  May 1, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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and not just for my shows. switch to xfinity mobile for half the price of verizon. new and existing customers get amazing value with our everyday pricing. switch today. some things were getting really bad. there was not fear of anything with what happens. oh no something slumped. i was shocked. and i couldn't say anything. >> a doctor comes home but not for long. >> my wife is having a stroke. >> an hour later she was back at the hospital she just loved. >> she had this blank stare in her eyes. >> three days later, she was that. >> i said, she's my child.
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i give birth, or on an 11th hour. >> at first, it was just a medical mystery. >> seeing all the white female that should be alive. >> to them this was out of this world. it didn't make any sense. >> but it soon became a murder mystery. >> so they're using? down >> because once they found out would they discovered how killed her, a question was who? >> if you don't have, or not could have. >> i saw them made sons of. it 11 made sense of. doctor autumn klein was in the business of saving lives. now, the young successful seemingly healthy woman and the prime of her life was fighting
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for a life. it was a medical mystery, or was a? was this a case for doctors, or the police. here is dennis murphy with lethal weapon. >> then regency room trauma team was losing her. she'd been wielding glass gasping for breath. >> her heart stopped, so at the restart. >> within minutes, they were doing the breathing on both circulation for 41 year old autumn klein,, wife mother, medical doctor. a rising star in the field of women's neurology. a star whose bite was demean, even as they try desperately to keep her going. >> these are doctors who are treating trauma patients every day. this one had totally puzzled them. >> the woman failing in the er, doctor cline, was in many ways while modern pittsburgh was all about.
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the gleaming downtown towers don't need to worry more about crime me still no smokestacks along the river. the steel industry here had mostly died by the early 80s and moved overseas. universities, technology, medicine, financed, that was the foundation of the new pittsburgh they call, the renaissance. robert ferrante, and his wife dr., autumn klein, relocated from boston. they were just the kinds of renaissance minds the city was trying to attract. autumn's colleague, dr. karen rouse. >> she said that she loved pittsburgh, she loved her patients. the people of pittsburgh they were wonderful, and she was so happy to be there. autumn, had always intended to be a caregiver. >> her cousin, closest sisters sharon king, remembers that even as a younger girl she administered playtime tlc. >> we had a doctor's office and our patients where our stuffed animals. >> and doctor autumn klein was holding clinic hours? >> she was the doctor. >> it was an interest that took root early for autumn and never left. always a top of the class
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student in the baltimore area. she later got her undergraduate degree in, neuroscience from amherst. >> helping people was the main thing. she was just so, smart, so intelligent, so thoughtful, and so caring. >> you and your husband must have been very, very proud of her. >> we were. >> lois klein is autumn's mom. >> we knew she was putting her mind on her studies and we are giving her the best education we could possibly give her. she was taking advantage of it. >> med school was a certainty. autumn announced she was heading to boston. her mother worried the city's crime it was too high. >> she said, i'm going to boston university medical school. and i said no you're not. she said yes i am and i said no you're not. she said, yes i am, and she went to boston university medical school. she had a mind of her own >> in medical school, autumn developed a romantic thing for her research colleague, and he
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for her. robert ferrante, bob to his friend, held a ph. d. in neuroscience. she was hunting for cures to devastating brain illnesses like lou gehrig's and huntington's disease. he was also more than 20 years for senior, divorced with two grown kids. >> i simply told her that that was a little bit too old for her. i didn't think that that was the right age. >> but two days before graduation from med school, a determined autumn wasting no time was walking down the aisle with her much older bride-groom. what was your impression of him sharon? >> nice guy, charming guy, a bit heady. >> egghead? nerdy? >> and she kind of was and she kind of wasn't. >> the couple made a home just outside boston. in a few years a baby girl arrived in their hectic lives. autumn took in stride. a two am diaper change was
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nothing for her. a 2 am call from the hospital, you have to come in and take care of this patient you know, she was used to that. >> the new mother was becoming a sought after specialist in neurological ailments in women. because of her expertise, she was interviewed for an educational video distributed by the discovery channel. >> people with epilepsy really need to be started on seizure medication in advance of pregnancy. >> but, autumn was growing frustrated with boston. professionally, she felt as if she had crested there. that's when pittsburgh loomed into view. in 2011, the university of pittsburgh and it's renounced sister medical center offered an ideal career move. for bob, a new research lab for autumn a chance to head her own department. autumn was not just a rising star, she was a shooting star. she was nationally recognized as a leader in the field at a very young age. but still, something was gnawing at her. a kind of emotional vacuum. she wanted to have another child. by now in her early 40s, she was taking fertility treatments, hormone injections. but, nothing was happening. was it really eating at her that she wasn't getting pregnant and that time was going by. >> yes. just speaking from experience, fertility treatments are the loneliest place a woman will ever go. >> looking back, her mom, lois,
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recognizes now some worrisome signs. changes in her daughter. i kind of saw that she wasn't herself too much anymore. that she was kind of a little, what do you call it? kind of a little down, maybe. here and there. >> then in early 2013, the couple tried a new approach to the baby problem. a fertility doctor thought the bodybuilding supplement known as creatine, just might help autumn get pregnant. as it turned out, her husband bob had been using the stuff in his research. so on april 17th, autumn klein, seemed ready to give creating a try. she texted her husband that day. i ovulate tomorrow. >> he answered perfect timing, creatine, smiley face. these are hospital security camera pictures that show autumn throughout the day and leaving work late that night. ten minutes later she was home.
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and minutes after that, her husband bob ferrante, was on the phone to 9-1-1. >> his wife, slumped on the kitchen floor, gasping for breath. the dispatcher asked the husband what he was seeing. >> i think my wife is having a stroke. >> paramedic steve mason and his partner arrived at the ferrante home to find a woman in very bad shape. she was lying on her back on the kitchen floor, her eyes were open and she was unresponsive. >> an hour after walking home from the medical center where she worked, dr. autumn klein, seen here in hospital surveillance footage, was back as a gravely ill patient in its emergency room. and whatever was happening to her was a medical mystery to the >> paramedic steve mason and his partner arrived at the ferrante home to find a woman in very bad shape. she was lying on her back on the kitchen floor, her eyes were open and she was unresponsive. >> an hour after walking home from the medical center where she worked, dr. autumn klein, seen here in hospital surveillance footage, was back as a gravely ill patient in its emergency room. and whatever was happening to her was a medical mystery to the team trying to keep her alive. then they saw the blood. so neon red, so out of their
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been rushed by ambulance to the er of the university of pittsburgh medical center after slumping to the kitchen floor of her home. >> we thought that there was definitely a possibility of a stroke. we knew that she was in critical condition. >> now the trauma team surrounding her was trying desperately to keep her vital signs going. allen jennings, at the time reporter with nbc's pittsburgh affiliate wpxi, covered the story. he recounted what doctors later said about that night. >> she had this blank stare in her eyes. barely a pulse. >> and they didn't know what had happened to her? >> no they didn't. >> autumn was struggling to breathe. >> then in comes the ventilator. >> the ventilator, the machines? >> the machines taking over to keep her alive until they can determine what in the world was going on. >> at some point, allen, did they realize that this was one of their own? that this was a brilliant young doctor that works in the women neurology unit? >> they did at one point. i don't know if they would've
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treated anyone any differently. but she was one of them, one of the team. >> when autumn's husband medical researcher bob ferrante, arrived in the trauma room. he tried to give the team some of his wife's medical history. he explained that she had been on fertility hormones. >> she had headaches, fainting spells, and that she generally was expressing that she hadn't been feeling well. >> he told the er doctors that he thought his wife had suffered a stroke. though diagnostic test said otherwise. by then, bob ferrante, had already called his father and mother in law at their home in baltimore with the bad news. autumn's mother, lois klein, said they got in the car immediately to drive through the night to pittsburgh. she was counting out the exits. >> and i said, please, let me get to frederick then please let me get to hagerstown. please let me get to hancock and then please let me get the pittsburgh. >> back in the er, a resident trying to rally autumn's failing body stuck an iv into her and noticed something quite odd. her blood in his tube showed shocking red. >> the observation of that doc at the bedside was that the
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blood is too red, why am i seeing blood this brilliantly red saturation? to them this was out of this world. they just couldn't make any sense out of it. >> eventually autumn went into cardiac arrest. doctors, managed to bring her back, barely. >> they actually took turns doing chest compressions to try to get some reaction from her and to try and get her heart moving and pumping again. >> another doctor reviewed autumn's symptoms and ordered up a test. he wanted a toxicology screen of her blood. hours passed, her blood was being pumped into a machine that was doing the oxygenated work of her heart and lungs. at some point, word had reached her cousin, sharon, now living in washington state. sharon talked by phone to autumn's frantic husband, bob. and was grateful for his medical background. >> he was calling his colleagues, he knows this neurologist, or this person. great, use your resources. i had no idea what was going on. >> eventually though, autumn lossed brain function, by the time her parents finally made it to the hospital they could see there was little hope for their daughter. >> they had a lot of tubes and
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things hooked up to her. and i held her hand and i talked to her. and i told her, you heal everybody else's brain why can't you heal your own? >> sharon wanted desperately to fly out from washington state to see autumn, but her aunt lois told her to wait. >> that's my other half in that hospital bed, i need to be there. >> doctors managed to keep autumn alive for two full days. at some point sharon could tell autumn's grieving husband had run out of hope. >> he did say to me, i'm going to spend the last night with the love of my life. at the time, i thought, it's not over yet. >> but in the er suite, everyone knew it was. autumn's little girl was brought to her bedside. >> she made some comment to someone about i don't think mommy's ever going to come home. >> on the third day after she had been wheeled into the er, autumn's exhausted colleagues pronounced her dead, and turned off the machines keeping her alive. >> a lot of my life feels like it doesn't make sense, without her. she was there for everything. >> autumn's husband and family, now had funeral plans to make. and darker days to get through. but, one person wasn't done
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with the mysterious case of autumn klein. his work was just getting started. doctor todd luckasevic, associate medical professor for alegandy county, perform the autopsy on autumn. >> it was regarded as a sudden, unexpected death. >> which meant, the county needed to figure out why this otherwise healthy woman was dead. there was no reason to suspect fertility hormones, vitamins, or supplements like creatine could have led to her collapse. their brains showed no signs of a stroke, though an examination of the heart did reveal an abnormally shaped heart valve. >> it's a congenital anomaly founded approximately 2% of the population. >> does it lead to early death? >> not in your 40s, you need to be symptomatic. >> at the conclusion of autumn klein's autopsy, the medical examiner was perplexed as to what killed this woman. >> i'm not seeing anything, i'm seeing a healthy white female. for all intents and purposes she should be alive. >> on the form that called for a cause of death the doctor wrote, pending. no definitive answer. but in a few days time he >>
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which meant, the county needed to figure out why this otherwise healthy woman was dead. there was no reason to suspect fertility hormones, vitamins, or supplements like creatine could have led to her collapse. their brains showed no signs of a stroke, though an examination of the heart did reveal an abnormally shaped heart valve. >> it's a congenital anomaly founded approximately 2% of the population. >> does it lead to early death? >> not in your 40s, you need to be symptomatic. >> at the conclusion of autumn klein's autopsy, the medical examiner was perplexed as to what killed this woman. >> i'm not seeing anything, i'm seeing a healthy white female. for all intents and purposes she should be alive. >> on the form that called for a cause of death the doctor wrote, pending. no definitive answer. but in a few days time he would
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county's associate medical examiner performed his autopsy on autumn klein the phone rang. the voice on the other end was from the hospital. autumn's blood test were back. dr. todd luckasevic was startled to hear what the lab found. >> lethal, deadly amount of cyanide. >> what did that tell you? >> that told me that i have a cause of death now. >> cyanide. the poison of the nazi death camps and the jonestown massacre of the 70s. lethal, fast killing stuff. not a common cause of death. >> i have done approximately 3500 cases in my career and this is my first case of cyanide poisoning. >> the lab's toxicology work, found cynadine levels of 3. 35 milligrams per liter in autumn 's blood. so this is a lot of cyanide? >> that is correct. >> still, he needed to confirm
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the results with his own test. he wanted to re-examine autumn 's remains to see if he could find cyanide in other parts of her body. but by then, he had released it to the funeral home. so, here's an easy solution you go back to the body you take a second look. >> would love to. when we got the phone call on tuesday that she had a lethal level of cyanide in her blood, i called immediately the funeral home and she had already been cremated. >> but the m.e still had samples of autumn's blood. its toxicology report that its own test for cyanide. analyst alicia smith added a simple solution to the blood, if cyanide was present in the sample it will turn the center well of this disk purple. she and luckasevic demonstrated what they found. >> this example we used today is very representative of the bottom line samples. it's almost identical. >> sure enough, the sample change color. >> her color change was a deep kind of dark purplish, pink, and it was obviously positive for cyanide. >> does the saturation of color tell you got a lethal amount. >> oh yes, definitely. even the light pink color
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change means they're cyanide there is, significant toxic, if not lethal amount of cyanide present. >> autumn klein had died of cyanide poisoning. no question about it, he said. he grew even more confident when he reviewed the details of how she had collapsed and suffered. cyanide, once ingested can quickly starve the body of oxygen. >> so, oxygen is on the blood, but it's not being utilized by the body. >> it was the trapped oxygen that turned the blood in autumn 's veins that vivid red. he also considered the 9-1-1 call. as her husband is begging for help, autumn can be heard moaning in the background. >> now she's like having a seizure -- jesus christmas, sweetheart.
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>> luckasevic says that was likely autumn struggling to breathe. another important sign that cyanide was in her system. >> there's a note on my desk saying that the coroner's office had a woman come in who had a lethal level of cyanide in her system. >> cyanide poisoning? >> how many of those have you seen in your career? >> this is my first one. >> soon, autumn's mom was given the news about the blood results. she then called her niece, sharon king, out in washington. >> she said, are you sitting down? i said okay. and then she said it was cyanide. >> just like that? >> and i was shocked. and i couldn't say anything. i couldn't catch my breath. >> when autumn's colleague, dr. karen rouse, heard about it, she knew right away that her friend had suffered an agonizing death. >> as a medical professional, i know about how people die of cyanide poisoning. i couldn't dwell on that. >> and just as in an old agatha christy cozy murder mystery about a cyanide poisoning in the village, the inspector was about to call. pittsburgh's senior investigators were on route to talk to robert farrante.
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did he have any idea how cyanide found its way into the bloodstream of his late wife. bloodstream of his late wife. talk to robert farrante. did he have any idea how cyanide found its way into the bloodstream of his late wife.
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hello, i'm dara brown, here's what's happening. u.s. marshals are offering $10,000 for information of the corrections officer and the state murder suspect. the officer, white have no relation. they went missing during and it meet escort in an alabama
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court. the state of kansas is recovering after a tornado. more than 1000 buildings were damaged. the ef3 state on the ground for 21 minutes. four people were injured. now, back to dateline. >> five days after doctor turned off the machines on doctor autumn klein, pittsburgh police detectives made their way to the three story brick house where she made a home with her daughter and husband medical researcher, robert ferrante. veteran detective jim mcgee took the lead. ferrante greeted him, and his partner. >> we start talking to him and about what happened to his wife at that point. >> ferrante told the detectives how his wife had arrived home that night a little before midnight. >> and how she came through the door and collapsed on the floor. >> he then recounted what he told 9-1-1.
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>> i think my wife was having a stroke. >> he thought his wife was having a stroke. the detectives informed him he was wrong about that. >> we asked him if he knew that his wife had died of cyanide poisoning. >> he gasped and said why would she do this to herself? >> why would she do that to herself? >> that was correct. >> to the cops the man looked visibly shaken, it seemed he was suggesting that his wife had committed suicide. ferrante then told the story about autumn trying and failing to get pregnant. he said she recently had been taking the supplement called creatine in the hopes it would help with fertility. veteran detective, harry lotun, understood the late wife's emotional agony >> she was trying to have another child and that's a lot of stress on a woman. when they're trying to have children and they can't have children. >> could autumns distressed state of mind have led to suicide. detectives had to consider that as a theory. but cyanide is an unusual way to kill yourself. and it is a hard to get poison.
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how could autumn have gotteb her hands on it. >> well, we looked into the labs where she worked, she didn't work in the lab she worked with patients. >> she was a clinic doctor right? working hands on. >> yes. >> but, there are other labs at the medical complex. laps stocked with poisons, including cyanide. maybe autumn wondered into one of those. detectives pulled hospitalsecurity cam footage from that last day, and here's what they saw. that's autumn as she is getting ready to leave work. she goes up a set of escalators, disappears for roughly six minutes, before coming back down and heading home. question, in those minutes missing from the cameras eye, had she found her way into a lab with toxins? >> and maybe this is where she goes to get her hands on cyanide to inexplicably kill herself? >> that is correct. >> yet there was a problem with that scenario, a big one. the investigators learned that to get into any of those labs,
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autumn would've had needed a special access card. >> is there any sign that she had a card swipe that put her in area where another researcher might have had cyanide? >> no. there's no card swipes the time that she left work. >> the more they dug, the less detectives believe this unexpected death was a suicide. true, autumn was frustrated by her infertility but disappointment was all it was, thinks her cousin, sharon. suicide was never on her radar. >> that was not autumn. that was just not autumn. family, friends, and colleagues agree. autumn was a woman with plans to live, not die. she had a daughter she adored and was scheduling vacations and new research products just before her death. >> if she didn't take it, and your theory is that she hadn't killed herself, the only place to go was homicide? >> that is correct. >> who would want to murder, autumn klein? the spouses is almost always a suspect, until they're not. but the husband here, bob
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ferrante, was a renowned medical researcher. he didn't seem to fit the bill. >> professional guy, well regarded, there don't seem to be any money issues in the household. >> in fact, the marriage of farrente and klein appeared to outsiders to be a good one. still detectives had to consider the husband's line of research. he worked routinely with toxins in his lab, but not with cyanide. more than a week after they first interviewed the husband. detectives began talking to his lab associates. >> the people that we talked to, said there was no research with cyanide. >> yet, detectives were just getting started with their investigation. they combed through labs, and laptops, interviewed friends, and colleagues. reanalyzed hospital footage. >> i think once we got all that together, and got all the pieces of that puzzle together we had our picture. >> a picture, he said, that revealed only one person had the motive and the means to kill autumn klein. her husband, bob ferrante. though the evidence was largely
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circumstantial, three months after autumn's death, the cops were ready to make an arrest. at the time, bob ferrante, was visiting his sister in florida. pittsburgh pd detective lutton headed south to make the arrest. but, when he got there, the sister said ferrante was gone. >> she said that he got a phone call from an attorney, and he got in the car and said i got to go, and then he left. >> ddid you think doctor ferrante was doing a runner on you? do you think he was trying to get away? >> yes. yes, we were told he was going to his attorney but he was running from us he knew we were coming >> on your books he was a fugitive? >> but not for long. as it turned out he was on his way back to pittsburgh to turn himself in. when he was pulled over by state police in west virginia and later handed over the pittsburgh authorities. police had their man. now they and the commonwealth of pennsylvania, had to prove
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to 12 men and women that he was the right one. >> they heard a clean case a very clean case. >> to jeffrey a. maning the judge that will preside over it all, the case against bob ferrante far from a sure thing could well leave jurors scratching their head. >> i'm not one for predicting verdicts but i would not have predicted one here. >> it could've gone either way and you wouldn't have been surprised? that would be correct. coming up, was jealousy a possible motive for murder? what had bob ferrante discovered about his wife? >> if this was somebody that she was remotely interested in, she would've told me. >> when lethal weapon continues.
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dr. autumn klein and robert ferrante had all the trappings of success and happiness. a nice three storey home, a short drive from the city. prestigious jobs at the university of pittsburgh and its medical center. at one time, it all seemed enviable. did you think they were good couple. >> yeah. yeah, i did. >> and then, it all went so wrong. >> autumn, dead from apparent cyanide poisoning. her husband now, a year and a half later, standing trial for her murder. even to the presiding judge, with years on the bench, this was a first. >> you had a very intelligent man who's accused of poisoning his wife. you have experts who argue with
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one another. >> and tip-top, good lawyer going on. >> very good lawyer, very good experts. >> it was up to be prosecutor lisa pelagrini to explain what's brought an other wide mild mannered scientist to kill the wife he supposedly loved. and in such a cruel manner. she opened by describing a man infuriated, one losing control over his more successful wife who are in turn grown tired of him. >> reporter alan jennings was in the courthouse. >> prosecutor say he was obsessed, jealous, his marriage, he realized he was going to be done by his wife. >> the prosecutor asserted that the marriage was in freefall at the time of her death. autumn believed her husband had emotionally checked out, especially when it came to the issue of having another child. she more or less told her cousin, sharon, he was a cold fish. >> my husband is a psychologist and she said i need you to ask him if there's such a gene has for compassion, because if there is than bob is lacking it.
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>> wow, that just describes acres of sadness, doesn't it? >> yeah. >> the prosecutor showed an email, autumn had sent her husband in the months before her death. she wrote, i realize now i have been alone in this entire emotional journey. i can't even speak to without getting angry. did she ever say, sharon, i'm going to leave him this isn't working? >> yes, she said that to me. >> and he was positively rattled to the court said the prosecutors, when he found out he was texting and emailing a male colleague she was spending time with at a conference in san francisco. bob ferrante, said the prosecutor, suspected his wife was having an affair. autumn's cousin was certain that wasn't true. >> if this was someone that she was formally interested in, she would've told me. >> so you don't think anything fiscal was happening, certainly? >> no. >> but as the prosecutors told, the defendant believed otherwise. rather than showing up a
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crumbling marriage. the embittered scientist, his, wife then you are young star, came up with a cold blooded solution. he poisoned her. >> the motivation, just jealousy. if he couldn't have her, no one was going to have her. >> ferrante, the prosecutor said, he thought he can get rid of his wife quickly by slipping her cyanide. when she didn't die quickly, he have to come up with a plan b, to mislead the prosecutors and scientists. >> prosecutors played the 9-1-1 call. >> the prosecution was establishing doctor for on this attempt to lead everybody that he encountered, starting with the 9-1-1 operator. he said, well, i think she's having a stroke. >> so steering it? >> steering it. >> then, when autumn finally died, according to the prosecutor for anti says
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something that he thought would keep the cause of death secret. lois klein testified that her son-in-law said flatly that he said he didn't want an autopsy. >> i said i'm her mother and i want in the top soft. >> because you want to know the cause of death? >> because you're the mother. i said you can't believe i said i'm her mother and i wanted autopsy. because you wanted to know the cause of death? i said i can't believe you don't want to know what happened to her. his response was that, people do that, they do opposite tops and then the people don't want to know the results of it. so, that was that. >> the prosecution had described a man who'd lost control of his wife, killed her, and then tried desperately to cover it up. defense attorneys bill and wendy williams. you get this picture of a jealous guy of his wife of his course been eclipse by his wife, thanks to god lover, and then bank she's dead. >> that's the spin the commonwealth put on this thing and we think the reality is that's not the case. they said the prosecutors allege marie motivator made for great melodrama but it was miles away from the truth. >> bob was very successful huntington's disease, als, on
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the verge of some big breakthroughs. bob ferrante, they countered, was a brilliant researcher and the loving man, devoted to helping his wife, are hurting her. and to sell the image they flabbergasted courtroom by calling defended himself to the stand. >> so in this case the defendant made that choice. i've often said that it's risky at best, the minute the defendant takes the stand we now have the governments proof forces defend its credibility. >> a gamble the defense team said frontally was wanted to make. he want to see jurors to see him for the man he was. one who loved his bright, complicated way. >> he wanted to help the jury understand what was going on in their marriage. he wanted to tell them how badly his wife wanted to have a child.
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>> yes he--, he had been a jelous husband. >> and saw them how bad his wife want to have a child. >> yes he conceded >> the going to trip to puerto rico with their daughter, has the neighbors described their going there and love their holding hands. those actions speak 1000 words. >> in the moments after his wife collapse he said he honestly thought she was having a stroke. when she died, he wanted simply to honor her wishes and donate her organs. and that's why he didn't want an autopsy. >> he was aware that if an autopsy was done, a full autopsy, he would destroy the ability to donate the organs which was his wife's request. >> a loving and loyal husband to the end, according to the defense. not a mad science treating his wife like a lab rat, killing her with cyanide. speaking of which, they said, the prosecution's claim of how autumn died was all wrong. >> there was not evidence that my client had anything to do with her death. let alone her death caused by cyanide. >> an age-old poison, its connection to a medical researcher and his doctor wife were about to be analyzed beneath a very different kind of microscope. the unforgiving eye of the law.
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>> coming up, once someone as mart as bob ferrante, really used something as obvious and easy to trace assign eyes. >> that's like buying a shotgun, telling everyone i just bought a shotgun, and two hours later my wife's to seat from a shock gunshot. >> it would be the dumbest thing in the universe. >> when lethal weapon continues.
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i am natalie morales. the prosecution made the argument that bob ferrante certainly had the means to kill his wife. now, it was the defenses turn. and their goal was to dismantle the largely circumstantial case presented. questioning the motive and whether she even died from the poison at all. now, with the conclusion of lethal weapon, here is dennis murphy. >> the commonwealth of pennsylvania had tried to paint robert ferrante as a jealous husband, driven by a rage to points in his wife. how did he do it? prosecutors believed he slipped the cyanide inside of a drink. give it to her shortly after she came home that night. a theory, said judge manning, that was tough to prove. >> no one stood there with their two eyes and said, i saw him put the cyanide in the drink and give it to her. no one said that. >> that is a weak point to the prosecution, of course, at which point they had. it >> of course they did.
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but keep in mind, circumstantial evidence, people don't believe when it really is is very powerful. >> prosecutor, lisa pell agree need told the court that ferrante used his wife vulnerability to trick or into taking cyanide that night. earlier in the day, autumn had sent him this text, i ovulate tomorrow. he texted back, perfect timing, creatine, smiley face. >> creatine. >> creatine. >> this is the solution. >> this is it. >> prosecutors allege that creatine could help or get pregnant. he whipped up a poisoned drink knowing she take it as soon as she came home. the poisoned drink theory was collaborated by something they told -- a ferrante. >> doctor ferrante told him, i don't know, she came home, i gave her a creatine drink, she drink it and she passed out on the floor. >> and no one may have been the wiser for it. if it hadn't been for a lap tests that's on the sky high amount of cyanide in autumn's
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blood. subsequent tests, the prosecutor at, it was possible for the poison. associate medical examiner, todd, underscored up for the dirty. >> what caused that woman's death was? >> cyanide poison. period. >> no doubt. >> nor was there any doubt, said the prosecutor as to who poisoned autumn. police discovered the defendants laptop hidden in an office safe. inside, it a wealth of information that told them bob ferrante had indeed been a very busy researcher in the months before his wife's death. >> doctor ferrante was googling searches concerning cyanide. we're to purchase, it how to purchase it, the effects on people,. >> and, he didn't stop there. the prosecutors said bob ferrante then made it interesting request to his lab associated. something that the later relate to detectives. >> he goes to the president person in the laboratory and he tells this person that he wants to order a bottle sign night.
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>> has he ever done that before, detective? >> never. >> better yet, the detectives explained, the doctor axed for the cyanide to be delivered overnight. >> and when is all of this in relation to autumn's slumping to the floor in her home. >> two days prior. >> two days prior? >> yes. >> frothy said he even left his fingerprint of the container. which interestingly to them had 8.3 points of cyanide missing. >> keeping a teaspoon of cyanide? >> i think about a teaspoon, about a grant. >> is that a lethal amount of cyanide? >> yes. >> prosecutor lisa pell agree niece at the defended thought he was so smart. fooling his wife and everyone else by using a poisoned, he assumed, was untraceable. >> standing and looking at the jury. points to ferrante. that man, right there was one blood tests away from the perfect murder. >> murder responded the defense?
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what murder. >> robert ferrante, had said he did not commit a crime. because there was no crime. >> i said this forcefully as i could. we don't believe and we will never believe that autumn klein died from cyanide. >> the defense was attacking the cornerstone of the commonwealth case, that looked at with the little reading of cyanide could never be trusted, it's. it >> there is no way that that result is -- >> thrown up? >> yes. >> because, he said, the lab initially screwed up with the three point 35 calculation. it only caught its air months later. correcting the level to 2.2. a still, lethal amount of cyanide in autumn's blood. >> it certainly raises a real issue of credibility. >> it gives the defense something to work with. >> it absolutely gave the defense a lot to work. with >> far more reliable are ferrante's attorneys was another test. done the week after autumn's death. it two found cyanide in her blood. but a very low levels. nowhere near lethal. >> and, at this case, that
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alone was sure eloquently particulate was more than reasonable doubt for this jury to report my client. >> the reports are highly conflicting. >> doctor, did the defendants introduced in the mix, or announced internationally recognized pathologist of many. here's the doctor had been in on cages from the jfk assassination to the death of elvis presley and john lindsey ramsey. he told the court that the conflicting test demanded a tie breaker. >> what you do is you have to send it to them again for laboratory testing. preferably to a third highly respected toxicology left. that was not done. >> more compelling, he said, was evidence of scoring around autumn's heart. which could've triggered an electrical malfunction stopping the organ cord. only, on the spot cpr could've saved her. >> and, in the absence of somebody hitting you in the chest, somebody knowing what
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they're doing with training and cardin airy pulmonary resuscitation, you, probably will die. >> in other words, the defense said autumn could've died of natural causes. >> they added that crime scene techs process the house and never did find so much as a trace of the poison. and their client sign a google searches, done for research purposes. not murder. >> i mean, here he is in january, asking questions of google of the nature cyanide. this looks very bad. >> in april, he is asking about cyanide, potassium, cyanide for a neuroscience research project. >> the defended for the expunges action from the stand. he ordered the poison for work. and even took it out of the box when it arrived. that is why his fingerprint was on the container. besides his lawyer, added, the men as smartest bober on tape would never used a weapon that could so easily be traceable back to him. >> that's like me buying a shotgun, telling everybody, hey,
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i just bought a shotgun and two hours later my life is deceased from a shotgun. >> -- >> it would be the dumbest guide the universe. >> in closing, the defense begged the jurors to use their common sense. which they later said is exactly what they did. their common sense. and the science presented told them, autumn klein had died of cyanide poisoning because the defendant had given it to her. they found him guilty of first degree murder. >> crushing, right. especially in this case. absolutely crushing. >> yeah. >> good description. >> robert ferrante was sentenced to life in prison. at the time of our interview, autumn's family felt they had gotten justice. their anger towards their husband had been overshadowed by all those what ifs. >> not only do i grieve autumn and the loss that she is to me and to us as a family and to our community and our friends. but also her patience. you know, my heart breaks for
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her patients. >> it was all doctor autumn klein had ever wanted to do. help others. now, that chance is gone. swept away, way too soon. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i am natalie morales. thank you for watching. i am natalie morales thank yo talk about shutters going down your spine. crime like this doesn't happen. this was just a lightning bolt. >> she was found face down a large amount of blood. >> what does the scene tell you, would your victims tell you? >> you have a killer loose here, who is specifically targeting people. >> yeah. >> she was somebody that he really thought was smart on him, he had animosity towards her. >> there was a doctor's house. somebody's after the doctors. four people are dead because of somebody's vengeance. >> revenge, that's their motives. >> revenge.


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