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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: first-degree murder

Clay Starbuck’s children respond to no-contact order

Clay Starbuck's children say a no-contact order imposed by Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt is an “attempt by the state to tear apart our family.”

Blake Starbuck, 19, issued a statement Friday saying they will fight the order that stops convicted murderer Clay Starbuck from contacting his three minor children until he has a mental health evaluation. Starbuck may contact his oldest children, Blake and Austin, 22.

Starbuck was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and sexually violating human remains in connection with the December 2011 slaying of his wife, 42-year-old Chanin Starbuck. In an unexpected twist during Starbuck's sentencing, prosecutor Larry Steinmetz asked Sypolt to enforce a no-contact order.

Starbuck will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Eitzen denies Stark motions, again

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen has denied a request by convicted killer Shellye L. Stark’s lawyer to reconsider her denials of a new trial or arrest of judgment.

Julie Twyford had filed a motion that included a declaration from a Spokane County Jail inmate who said another inmate had told her her father served on the Stark jury and discussed details of the case when he wasn’t supposed to.

“Even if true, does it make a difference?” Eitzen said at today’s hearing. “Even if a juror talked to someone about what was going on in jury deliberations, is that in and of itself grounds for a mistrial?

“Is the rememdy some sort of sanction to the juror? I’m pretty sure the remedy isn’t vacating the verdict. Again, let the Court of Appeals decide.”

Also at issue for the defense is Eitzen’s sentencing Stark to consecutive sentences for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Twyford has argued the sentences should be served at the same time, but Eitzen said that’s another issue for the Court of Apeals to handle.

Stark’s mother, two sisters and teenage son attended the hearing, along with Spokane police detective Kip Hollenbeck.

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