April 28, 2009 in City, News
Boyfriend accused of helping plan Stark murder
The murder of a Spokane man whose estranged wife gunned him down, then told sordid tales of forced prostitution and other spousal abuse in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the charges has taken another twist.
Brian L. Moore, the 42-year-old married boyfriend of convicted murderer Shellye Stark, is in custody in Anaheim, Calif., awaiting extradition to Spokane on charges of helping hatch the murder plot, then concocting Stark’s tale of abuse to dupe police into believing the Dec. 9, 2007 slaying of Dale Stark was in self defense.
A Spokane jury rejected the self defense claim last month, convicting Stark of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Her sentencing is scheduled for Thursday.
Now, her boyfriend is facing the same charges, accused by Spokane police of wanting a piece of Dale Stark’s money: a $400,000 life insurance policy and equity in the couple’s South Hill home.
The state’s case against Moore hinges partly on statements from a private investigator hired by Stark who grew increasingly suspicious about Moore’s involvement in the case. He was questioned by police after being subpoenaed as part of the murder investigation.
“The dilemma that I was placed in was not only an ethical dilemma, but it was sort of a moral and legal dilemma,” Ted Pulver, owner of Pulver Investigations & Polygraph Inc. in Post Falls, said in an interview. “Brian Moore actually made it easier for me because of his ongoing criminal activity and threats to other people…I had people literally pleading with me to help them save their lives.”
Moore is being held in the Orange County, Calif., jail following a raid at an Anaheim warehouse where his wife told police he was living.
Spokane and Anaheim police seized Moore’s computer, a small marijuana growing operation and illegal weapons and firearm silencers.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the weapons, said Lt. Dave McGovern of the Spokane police major crimes unit.
Shellye Stark, who has not spoken to detectives about Moore, remains in Spokane County Jail.Stark was free on bond before her trial but returned to jail two days before it began after Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla and police spotted she and Moore in a convertible Pontiac sedan. Stark was prohibited from seeing Moore, who was on the state’s witness list but wasn’t served with a subpoena and was never in court.
Police seized the convertible during their search Monday.
Although Stark has called Moore her fiancé, court papers show Moore also was intimately involved with other women besides his wife at the same time. Stark had been working as a prostitute in Southern California, advertising on the Internet under the name Nikita Jennifer, but she told jurors in her murder trial that Moore had helped her leave that part of her life behind.
Dale Stark died from five bullet wounds minutes after being served with a temporary restraining order that Shellye Stark had obtained two days earlier with the help of Moore, who had worked as a paralegal in California.
Stark’s sister, Karen Jachetta, and mother, Dennise Johnson, both of Priest River, Idaho, were listed as co-conspirators in the case but have not been charged. Jachetta was driving to Spokane with Johnson’s gun when she hit a moose on U.S. Highway 2 and was hospitalized. Her son retrieved the gun from the wreckage and gave it to Shellye Stark, who shot her husband with it a day later.
While detectives don’t believe Moore was in Spokane the day Dale Stark was killed, their investigation looked at Moore’s connection to Dale Stark’s finances as well as statements he made to co-workers in California directing them to lie about the case, court papers show.
New details revealed in court documents include:
• An office assistant, Wendy Fox, heard voice messages from Dale Stark that “did sound angry but made no threats,” but that Moore told her to “embellish and lie” to a private investigator and report death threats. A few weeks later, after Dale Stark’s death, Moore asked Fox to help him transfer money out of Dale Stark’s bank account and was seen with a wad of money he said he didn’t need to pay back. Police believe that money came from Dale Stark’s estate, McGovern said Tuesday.
• Moore asked Fox to call Yahoo to see if deleted emails from the company’s accounts could be retrieved. When she told him there was no way to recover them “he appeared to be relieved.”
• When Moore’s wife was helping him move out of their home in March, she found a homemade silencer and a box of .357 caliber ammunition. The gun used to kill Dale Stark was a .357 revolver.
• Stark told another prostitute, Angela Edwards, who introduced her to Moore that she was worried about serving her husband with a restraining order in Spokane. “When Edwards confronted Brian Moore about the necessity of Shellye Stark going to Spokane to serve the order on her ex-husband, Moore became angry with Edwards’ line of questioning and hung up on her.”
• An attorney who worked with Moore, Michael Kendall, said Moore admitted forging his signature on a Spokane Superior Court document regarding Dale Stark’s will and $400,000 life insurance policy. “Moore told Kendall that he did not reveal all of the details of his knowledge of Dale Stark’s murder because he didn’t want “Shellye Stark to look bad.””
• A woman who Moore was having an affair with refused to give him money for Shellye Stark’s bond. Two months after she stopped seeing him, he mailed her husband photographs of her in sexually intimate poses and included a graphic letter describing their sexual relationship.
But it was statements from the defense’s private investigator that stood out as a “little unusual” in the investigation, McGovern said Tuesday.
“At least in my experience, it hasn’t happened before,” McGovern said. “We certainly believed what he had to say.”
Pulver told police Moore had manipulated Dale Stark’s will and had Stark give it to her civil attorney when Pulver refused. After being contacted by Hollenbeck, Pulver said he told him what he could say under a court order.
“No private investigator is going to allow someone to break the law and in the future, cause harm to others,” Pulver said Tuesday.
“Sometimes you have to do what’s right and not what’s good for you professionally,” Pulver said. “When you go to church, are you going to feel comfortable with the decision you made? I’ve been doing this 32 years; this is the first time anything like this has been this severe.”