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PITTSBURGH — A medical researcher charged with poisoning his wife had a computer on which someone conducted searches relating to cyanide poisoning two or three days after she died, a State Police computer specialist testified Tuesday.

The searches found on Dr. Robert Ferrante’s laptop occurred days before test results on Dr. Autumn Klein’s blood revealed a fatal level of cyanide.

Earlier in the fourth day of what is expected to be a three-week trial, one of Ferrante’s lab assistants testified he placed an overnight order for potassium cyanide two days before Klein fell suddenly ill in the couple’s kitchen. Another lab assistant said he was acting a ‘‘little bizarre’’ around the time his wife fell ill.


In the days after her death, Ferrante, 66, had told friends and family he believed she died of a sudden, unexplained illness such as a stroke.

Corporal John Roche, a computer specialist, testified Tuesday that one of the searches typed into Yahoo Answers on his computer was, ‘‘How would a coroner detect when someone is killed by cyanide?’’

Under cross examination, Roche acknowledged that he cannot prove whether Ferrante or someone else did the computer searches.

Some of the searches were done as early as January 2013, including one seeking the legal definition of ‘‘malice of forethought,’’ an apparent reference to malice aforethought, a legal term that means premeditation.

Investigators contend that Ferrante, a specialist on Lou Gehrig’s disease, laced Klein’s creatine energy drink with the poison on April 17, 2013.

Associated Press