Vernal woman to face charges over poisoned smoothie
A woman formerly from Vernal sentenced this week in Oregon for theft, perjury and identity fraud is now expected to be returned to Utah to face allegations she tried to poison her roommate with an antifreeze-spiked fruit smoothie.
Selena Irene York, 33, is charged in Uintah County's 8th District Court with second-degree felony attempted murder for the 2008 poisoning of 78-year-old Edward Zurbuchen.
Authorities in Eugene, Ore., confirmed Friday that York had been sentenced to probation. They said York is not planning to fight extradition to Utah, meaning Vernal police have two weeks to go get her.
Uintah County Attorney G. Mark Thomas said Friday, "We have every intention of pursuing the prosecution here."
In September 2008, Zurbuchen was taken to Ashley Valley Medical Center complaining of dizziness and numbness in the left side of his face. Doctors initially thought he had suffered a stroke. But after finding ethylene glycol the main ingredient in antifreeze in his system, doctors called police, believing Zurbuchen had been poisoned.
Police questioned York, who, along with her teenage daughter, was living as a roommate with Zurbuchen. York said that she had given him a smoothie, but had not put anything poisonous in it, according to court documents.
After the poisoning, Zurbuchen obtained a restraining order against York, who moved to Oregon with Joseph Dominic Ferraro.
The case went cold until April, when the Vernal police received a letter from Ferraro, who was in jail in Oregon for an unrelated crime.
Ferraro who wrote that York had bragged about poisoning Zurbuchen said he came forward about York because she had forged power of attorney documents and had drained several of his bank accounts, according to charging documents.
Two Vernal police officers flew to Oregon to interview Ferraro and question York, who confessed to putting poison in the smoothie, charges state.
In July, York was charged in Utah with second-degree felony attempted murder. She faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.
In Oregon, York pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, two counts of identity theft and one count of perjury, according to the Eugene newspaper, The Register-Guard.
York admitted emptying Ferraro's bank account and selling two vehicles Ferraro owned while he was in jail awaiting trial on sexual abuse charges, The Register-Guard reported. Lane County Deputy District Attorney Bill Warnisher said that although York was sentenced to probation, she would remain in jail on a "fugitive hold" out of Utah, The Register-Guard reported.