Sirens & Gavels

Shellye Stark to be tried again for murder

 Shellye L. Stark is led into Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen's courtroom on Thursday, April 9, 2009. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Shellye L. Stark is led into Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen's courtroom on Thursday, April 9, 2009. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A Spokane woman serving 51 years in prison for murdering her husband in 2007 will get a new trial. The Washington Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by prosecutors to review an appellate court decision calling for a new trial for Shellye L. Stark.

A new trial has not been scheduled but is not expected to occur until at least after Stark's boyfriend, Brian L. Moore, stands trial on murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges, which is set to begin Oct. 11.
 
Stark (pictured above at trial and at left in a prison mug shot from January 2010) claimed self defense during her two-week trial in Spokane County Superior Court. She told jurors she shot Dale R. Stark (right) in their home at 1620 S. Maple St., on Dec. 9, 2007, after years of abuse, including forced prostitution.
 
A jury convicted her in March 2009 after a two-week trial before Judge Tari Eitzen.
 
The appellate court's 3rd division overturned her convictions last December after finding fault with jury instructions and other legal technicalities, including the fact that Stark's co-conspirators were not named in the instructions.
 
The guarantee of a new trial is the latest twist for a case that attracted national attention from true crime television shows as Stark described years of abuse and bizarre sexual abuse that began with forced prostitution in Hollywood early in their marriage.
 
The couple were separated in 2007 when Shellye Stark moved to California and continued advertising online as a prostitute named Nikita Jennifer.
 
Stark said she'd been threatened by her husband and returned to Spokane to obtain a retraining order. Her sister drove from Priest River to Spokane to help serve the order and provide firearms but was hospitalized after striking a bull moose. Stark's nephew retrieved guns from the wreckage to give to Shellye Stark, who told jurors she need them for protection.
 
Click here for past coverage. (I covered every day of the trial.)



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