Dr. Autumn Klein Murder – NBC’s crime show ‘Dateline‘ Season 23, Episode 32, titled “Lethal Weapon,” explores the intriguing case surrounding the untimely death of Dr. Autumn Klein, a talented and respected 41-year-old physician and researcher residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The incident, which occurred in April 2013, garnered significant attention and sorrow within the medical community. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of the Pittsburgh police, the suspect responsible for her death was apprehended and subsequently brought to justice.
In the following article, I will provide you with a comprehensive account of the circumstances surrounding Dr. Klein’s demise, shedding light on the perpetrator’s identity and the events leading up to her tragic end.
Dr. Autumn Klein Murder Story
Autumn Marie Klein, born on November 30, 1971, in Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, was the daughter of Lois Cook and Charles William Klein. Her academic journey was impressive, as she obtained a BA in neuroscience and women’s studies from Amherst College in 1993, followed by an MD and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine in 2001. She pursued an internship in internal medicine at Brown University from 2001 to 2002 and completed a neurology residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital.
After her residency, Autumn served as Chief Resident for a year from 2004 to 2005 and subsequently pursued a fellowship in neurophysiology/epilepsy from 2005 to 2007. She also taught at Harvard Medical School for two years, starting in 2007, following her completion of a neurology clinical residency at the same institution in 2002 and 2005. Autumn’s dedication to her profession earned her recognition, as she was honored with Harvard Medical School’s Excellence in Teaching Neuroanatomy Award in 2004. On July 1, 2011, she embarked on her role as an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the School of Medicine at the University she worked for.
Colleagues and coworkers held Autumn in high regard, recognizing her as a remarkable talent and an innovative figure in her field. Dr. Karen Rouse described her as a rising star and a meteor, attributing her success to her exceptional skills and achievements. Dr. Maria Baldwin echoed these sentiments, highlighting Autumn’s passion for her profession and her ability to inspire those around her. Patients placed immense trust in her expertise and held a deep affection for her.
It was during her time as a PhD student at the Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Center in 1995 that Autumn purportedly crossed paths with Dr. Robert “Bob” Joseph Ferrante. Initially paired as coworkers, they developed a close bond, with Autumn harboring a long-standing crush on Bob. Despite their significant age difference, Autumn found him intellectually stimulating and respected his accomplishments as a single father. Their relationship progressed gradually, leading to their marriage at the historic Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 18, 2001.
The couple made their home in Canton, Massachusetts, and welcomed their daughter, Cianna Sophia Marie Ferrante, in January 2007. However, tensions arose when Autumn expressed her desire to expand their family further, while Bob was hesitant due to the age gap between them, leading to speculations and discomfort among their relatives.
In mid-2010, Autumn and Bob considered a move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) sought Autumn to establish a women’s neurology program. Bob was also offered the opportunity to relocate his Boston lab to Scaife Hall at the University of Pittsburgh. The couple purchased a beautiful property on Lytton Avenue, just minutes away from their new jobs, in May 2011.
Tragically, on the evening of April 17, 2013, Autumn collapsed in the kitchen at 11:52 p.m., leaving Bob frantic and believing she was experiencing a stroke. Emergency services were summoned, and Autumn was rushed to the hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator due to breathing difficulties. In the following two days, doctors desperately sought a diagnosis while her brain function steadily declined. On April 20, after enduring three days of suffering, Autumn passed away at the age of 41.
The sudden and unexpected nature of Autumn’s death shocked those around her, leaving many puzzled and seeking answers. The subsequent investigation would reveal a complex and intriguing web of events that ultimately led to the tragic loss of a brilliant doctor and researcher.
Investigation and Arrest
The summer of 2012 marked a challenging period in Autumn and Bob’s marriage, as they faced difficulties related to Autumn’s infertility and the lack of support from Bob. Despite undergoing multiple IVF cycles and enduring daily injections, their attempts to conceive remained unsuccessful. Adoption agencies were hesitant due to their significant age gap, adding further strain to their situation. As a result, Autumn contemplated leaving Bob by the end of 2012, feeling defeated and unfulfilled.
Reports suggest that Bob harbored suspicions of Autumn engaging in an affair with a male coworker she met at a conference. Although Autumn and her cousin Sharon King denied these allegations, the prosecution argued that Bob had discovered incriminating texts and emails, triggering feelings of intense jealousy. Following Autumn’s passing, her mother insisted on an autopsy, while Bob opposed the idea. Autumn’s mother, Lois expressed her determination, stating, “I’m her mother, and I want an autopsy.” Ultimately, an assistant medical examiner in Allegheny County conducted the autopsy.
During the initial stages, determining the cause of Autumn’s death proved challenging for Dr. Todd Luckasevic, the medical examiner. However, the toxicology results revealed high levels of cyanide in her bloodstream, ranging between 2.2 and 3.4 milligrams per liter, equivalent to the concentration found in the toxin used in concentration camps. While Bob speculated that Autumn might have intentionally ingested cyanide, the police ruled out suicide. Court records indicated that Bob had ordered cyanide for his lab on April 15 and had searched for information about it online.
The prosecution argued that Bob poisoned Autumn by disguising the cyanide as a fertility supplement, specifically creatine, which he had recommended to her. As evidence, they presented a text conversation between Bob and Autumn just before her collapse on April 17. As stated in court records, Bob responded with the words “Perfect timing” when Autumn informed him that she was ovulating the following day. The prosecution contended that Bob had poisoned Autumn’s creatine drink with cyanide and given it to her upon her return home.
During the trial, testimony revealed that Bob’s fingerprints were found on the cyanide container, and it was reported that approximately a teaspoon (around 8.3 grams) of cyanide was missing. Bob’s defense attorney argued in his 2014 murder trial that there was no evidence linking him to Autumn’s death, let alone cyanide poisoning. The defense claimed that Bob had purchased the cyanide for his research. However, the jury did not accept his alibi and ultimately found him guilty of first-degree murder, resulting in a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The tragic case of Autumn Klein’s death exposed a complex web of circumstances, suspicions, and forensic evidence that ultimately led to Bob’s conviction for the murder of his wife, a promising physician and researcher.
Prosecution of Killer Husband Dr. Robert Ferrante
While Autumn and Bob began out seemingly harmonious, cracks started appearing over time in their marriage. While Bob appeared supportive of Autumn’s demanding work schedule and allowed her to work long hours, their relationship showed signs of strain as time progressed. Bob expressed reservations about fatherhood due to his advanced age, which created friction. Sharon King accused Bob of manipulating and abusing Autumn and being controlling. She and Jeff King felt uncomfortable being around Bob during visits with Autumn and Bob in Boston.
Bob made headlines in 2011 by signing a major agreement with the University of Pittsburgh and donating a $3 Million valued lab and nine awards in his name. However, just before their relocation, he expressed strong opposition to having another child despite Autumn’s desire for one. Coupled with accusations from him regarding an affair by a coworker that Autumn may have had with one colleague, she considered leaving by late 2012.
Bob’s refusal to request an autopsy following Autumn’s April 20, 2013 death was unexpectedly upsetting to her loved ones, particularly her family, who insisted upon an autopsy that revealed lethal cyanide poisoning levels in Autumn’s blood. Bob was ultimately arrested and charged with first-degree murder under allegations he poisoned Autumn with nutritional supplements laced with cyanide intended to aid her struggle against infertility – such as giving her nutritional supplement drinks with hidden poisonous components under false pretenses of helping her fight infertility more effectively.
Evidence presented at court included Bob’s fingerprints being found on the cyanide container and that he ordered it shortly before Autumn’s collapse. Around eight grams (8 teaspoons) were reported missing after Bob claimed to have obtained it for scientific use; however, in November 2014, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.
Bob filed a motion for a new trial citing inadequate defense in July 2019 due to coercion, duress, and false promises that caused him to waive his rights in exchange for bail. Unfortunately, however, Allegheny County Common Pleas Court denied his appeal in July 2022, and he remains imprisoned at Houtzdale State Correctional Institution as of now.