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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Shellye Stark

Murder charges against Stark’s boyfriend dropped

Charges against the married boyfriend of convicted killer Shellye Stark have been dropped at the request of the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.

Brian L. Moore, 43, is being held in Spokane County Jail on federal weapons charges that were filed late last week.

The state expects to re-file charges against Moore once the federal charges are addressed, according to court papers filed Sept. 10.

The dismissal of the charges, requested by Mark Cipolla, halts a hearing that was scheduled for this Thursday in which a judge was to rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss.

By making the request himself, Cipolla made it so the charges were dismissed without prejudice instead of with prejudice, meaning prosecutors can refile and not evoke double jeopardy.

The move basically gives the prosecution time to address what the defense had said was a lack of evidence to support first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges against Moore, who was arrested in April.

The prosecution’s case had suffered a blow when a judge wouldn’t allow prosecutors to have material from Moore’s private investigator that had been included in Stark’s case.

Public defender Jeff Compton’s motion to dismiss was based partly on that ruling. (Read about it here.)

A grand jury indictment filed Friday in Eastern Washington District Court charges Moore with two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm in connection with a rifle and firearm silencer on a pistol seized from a warehouse where he was staying in Orange County, Calif.

His bail hearing is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

Hearing delayed for killer’s boyfriend

Brian Moore’s big day will have to wait.

A hearing on a motion to dismiss murder charges against Moore, accused of helping Shellye Stark kill her husband, was delayed today because the prosecutor is having hip surgery. 
Judge Sam Cozza set the new hearing for Sept. 17.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla appeared on behalf of Larry Haskell. Moore was in court in a blue jail jumper but said nothing during the short hearing. 

As he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, he said hi to Stark’s sister, Donna Haggerty.
 
“Love you sweetie. Be good,” Haggerty said. 

“Love ya honey,” Moore said.

Spokane police traveled to Orange County, Calif., in April and arrested Moore on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder for the Dec. 9, 2007, shooting death of Dale Stark. 

Detectives don’t believe Moore was in Spokane when Shellye shot Dale, rather they allege he plotted the murder with Shellye and helped her concoct a sordid tale of spousal abuse in a failed attempt to dupe authorities into thinking the killing was in self defense.

Read past coverage here.

Big day tomorrow for killer’s boyfriend

Will the charges against the boyfriend of the woman convicted of killing her husband stand?

We’ll find out tomorrow in Spokane County Superior Court.

Lawyers in the Brian L. Moore case are set to argue a motion to dismiss first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges against Moore.

Moore is accused of helping Shellye L. Stark plan her husband’s murder, then concocting a sordid tale of spousal abuse to try to dupe authorities into thinking the slaying was self defense.

Moore’s public defender, Jeff Compton, is asking that charges against Moore, who’s accused of helping Stark with the plan to kill her husband, be dismissed because of lack of evidence. Moore was arrested in California in April. (Read about it here.)

Private investigator Ted Pulver is considered a key witness against Moore, but a judge has denied prosecutor access to material regarding Pulver and Moore that had been part of Stark’s case.

Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell has said he believes he still has a case. Judge Sam Cozza will preside over the motion hearing, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

Moore’s lawyer moves for dismissal of charges

 The prosecutor in the case against convicted killer Shellye L. Stark’s married boyfriend said after a judge denied him access to key witness material that he still has a case. (Read about that here.)

A judge will soon decide if that’s true.

Brian L. Moore’s lawyer is asking that charges against Moore, who’s accused of helping Stark with the plan to kill her husband, be dismissed because of lack of evidence.

Moore is being held in Spokane County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, accused of helping Stark plan her husband’s murder, then concocting a sordid tale of spousal abuse to try to dupe authorities into thinking the slaying was self defense.

A jury convicted Stark in March, and she’s serving 50 years in prison in Gig Harbor. Moore was arrested in California in April. (Read about it here.)

To hold Moore, prosecutors must show that there’s probable cause to believe he committed the crime.

Moore’s public defender, Jeff Compton, argues in a motion to dismiss that there’s just not enough evidence to keep Moore behind bars. His reasoning centers on a court decision July 30 regarding crucial material to the state’s case: investigative material from Ted Pulver, a private eye hired by Moore and Stark who went to police with his concerns.

“The defense is aware of no authority which allows a defendant to be held on probable cause based on information the State plans to develop,” Compton wrote. “Either the state has evidence which constitutes probable cause or it does not. The recent ruling concerning the evidence makes it clear the State does not have the evidence and may never get the evidence.”

Ouch! Read the motion here.

Included with it was a copy of Moore’s probable cause affidavit, which is probably the seediest court document I’ve ever read. Check it out here.

The state hasn’t filed its response yet.

As of now, the hearing is set for Thursday. Needless to say, stick with this blog for updates.

Courthouse watch: 7.30.09

No material from convicted killer Shellye Stark’s former lawyer’s files will go to prosecutors seeking a murder conviction against her married boyfriend  because the material could be critical to Stark’s appeal, a judge ruled today.

Spokane County Superior Judge Ellen Kalama Clark dodged a legal debate posed by state appeals lawyer Gregory Link and Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell when she declined to quash a subpoena that she herself had granted two weeks ago.

Instead of addressing the legality of the subpoena, she said she was quashing the subpoena because she’d seen the materials and had decided they couldn’t be used.

In her decision June 22, Clark had said she would sort through Russell Bradshaw’s files to see if there was information pertaining to Moore and private investigator Ted Pulver, the key witness in the case against Moore. Neither Haskell nor LInks has seen the material.

“I have an advantage over you gentlemen,” Clark said to Haskell and Links Thursday. “I have that infomation.”

By deeming all of the material too sensitive to Stark’s case to disclose, Clark avoided a legal debate about, essentially, a decision she’d already made -  whether material in one defendant’s case could be used in another’s.

She told the attorneys of her decisions after the debate because, “I wanted to hear what you had to say.” (Read a blog post about the legal filings here.)

Haskell said he believe the state’s case against Moore,  who’s accused of helping Stark with a plot to kill her husband, then of concocting a sordid tale of abuse to dupe police into thinking the killing was in self defense.

“It’s not helpful, but it is what it is,” Haskell said. “I think he still have a case.”

Moore, who was arrested in Orange County April 27 in a story you can can read here, appeared in court with Link (Stark’s appellate attorney), and Moore’s public defender, Jeff Compton.

“Excellent job,” Moore told the lawyers after the hearing.

His trial is set for Oct. 26. 

Courthouse watch: 7.20.09

The legal saga continued today for a couple police believe plotted to murder the woman’s husband then concocted a sordid tale of abuse in an attempt to dupe investigators into thinking the killing was self-defense.

The state filed its response today in Spokane County Superior Court to a motion by Shellye L. Stark’s new appellate lawyers to quash a subpoena of Stark’s case file with lawyer Russell Bradshaw, whom she fired after her conviction.

Stark’s lawyers, Gregory C. Link and David L. Donnan, argued in a motion filed July 10 that the file is protected and shouldn’t be released.

Judge Ellen Kalama Clark ruled last month, as detailed in a blog post you can read here, that she would review the material and hand over anything having to do with the involvement of Stark’s boyfriend, Brian L. Moore, that was not relevant to Stark’s appeal to the state. The file contains crucial evidence for the state’s case against Moore, specifically statements he made to a private investigator, Ted Pulver, who has said he’ll work with the state but only under a subpoena.

The court allowed the file to be released because Bradshaw did not represent Moore, Starks’ lawyers wrote in the motion, which you can read here.

Under that logic, any time co-defendants are charged under different case numbers, they would be able to access each other’s case files, Stark’s lawyers argued in a motion filed July 10.

“That is a nonsensical distinction,” Starks’ lawyers wrote. “Instead, if the information would not have been available to the State had it sought it in Ms. Stark’s case, it does not become available merely because the State has sought it in a separate matter.”

Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell filed his response today, citing two Washington state Supreme Court cases that he argues support Clark’s decision.

Read that response here.

A hearing is set for later this month.

‘I still represent her in spirit’

A judge will review conversations between a private investigator and a man accused of helping his girlfriend with a plan to kill her husband.

Judge Ellen Kalama Clark will decide what portions of Ted Pulver’s files to give to prosecutors seeking convictions for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Brian L. Moore, who is due in Spokane tonight and will appear in court Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I have significant concerns about how these statements might impact Ms. Stark’s issues,” Clark said, referring to Shellye L. Stark appealing her March conviction for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.”I don’t think I can just blankly order Mr. Bradshaw to hand over the materials because it could affect Ms. Stark.”

Clark’s ruling was in response to a motion to quash a state subpoena for Russell Bradshaw, Stark’s former lawyer, (shown above with Stark in December 2007) and Pulver, a private investigator hired by Moore.

Pulver is a key witness in the state case against Moore but has said he won’t testify or supply information without a court order.

Bradshaw filed the motion against the subpoena, claiming Pulver’s information is off limits under attorney-client privileges.

“It is my duty to protect those materials,” said Bradshaw, who was fired by Stark following the jury verdict, along with co-counsel Bryan Whitaker. “I still represent her in spirit.”

Clark will redact portions of the materials she deems crucial to Stark’s case, then hand over the information to the state.

Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell called it “incomprehensible” for Bradshaw to hold Pulver’s investigative materials.

Bradshaw said he’s simply doing his duty as a defense attorney. Bradshaw also said he didn’t know what was in the materials because he hadn’t looked them over yet.

Haskell and Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindsay were overheard outside the courtroom discussing what Lindsay called a conspiracy to deprive the state of the documents, and questioning how lawyers could sit on information that could possibly even exonerate someone.

Read past coverage of the Stark case here.

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