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Medical researcher convicted in physician wife's cyanide death details appeal issues

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PITTSBURGH — A former western Pennsylvania medical researcher has detailed the reasons for appealing his first-degree murder conviction in the cyanide poisoning death of his neurologist wife.

Sixty-six-year-old Robert Ferrante is serving life in prison since an Allegheny County jury convicted him last fall in the April 2013 death of Dr. Autumn Klein.

Defense attorney Chris Eyster contends Ferrante was convicted on circumstantial evidence, that there was no evidence that he put cyanide in his wife's energy drink and that medical specialists disagreed about whether she died of poison or a sudden heart dysrhythmia.

Eyster also says prosecutors failed to turn over evidence that a subsidiary of the company that confirmed the poisoning, Quest Diagnostics, had pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to continuing to use an unreliable test. Eyster says that could have cast doubt on the poisoning findings.

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