A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a Southern California man charged with first-degree murder by accomplice in the 2007 shooting death of his girlfriend’s husband.
The jury deliberated for parts of four days before informing Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt that they could not come to a unanimous decision against Brian L. Moore, 46, who was the boyfriend of former prostitute Shellye Stark.
She was convicted in 2009 of killing her husband, Dale R. Stark, and sentenced to 51 years in prison before appellate judges overturned the verdict in 2010 because of flawed jury instructions. She remains in custody pending her new trial.
Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell would not reveal the jury count but said he planned to meet with Jack Driscoll, the chief criminal deputy prosecutor, to discuss whether they will continue to pursue the case or release Moore.
“The jury took everything we had and did the best they could with it,” Haskell said.
Moore testified that he fell in love with Shellye Stark after he met her in 2007 on a website for men to find escorts.
“I was impressed,” Moore testified last week. “She’s not a beauty queen. She’s like us. She’s human. When she smiled, the room would light up.”
But prosecutors alleged that Moore, who was working in Southern California as a paralegal, helped Stark draw up a restraining order designed to enrage Dale Stark, whom witnesses testified had a quick temper.
Shellye Stark was waiting with a gun on Dec. 9, 2007, when Dale Stark came home. Within seconds of handing over the paperwork, she shot him five times. She claimed self-defense, but a jury in 2009 saw otherwise.
Moore testified that he did receive some of the money from Dale Stark’s $400,000 life insurance policy, but only as reimbursement for the costs of defending the woman whom he still plans to marry. Moore is married to another woman in California, but he said they are separated.
His attorney, Jeffrey Compton, said he had not talked with Moore but was somewhat pleased with Monday’s outcome.
“It’s better than the alternative,” Compton said.