The California man who prosecutors say helped plan the 2007 murder of Dale Stark, pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder just days before his retrial was set to start.
A jury in May deadlocked 11-1 to convict Brian L. Moore, 46, on charges of first-degree murder by accomplice and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Prosecutors immediately announced plans to retry Moore and that trial was set to begin next Monday. Moore was charged with helping Shellye Stark plan and carry out the Dec. 9, 2007, shooting death of her estranged husband, Dale R. Stark, in his South Hill home.
On the witness stand in May, Moore said he still intends to marry Shellye Stark, who was convicted in 2009 of killing her husband and sentenced to 51 years in prison. That conviction was overturned on appeal in 2010, and a second jury late last month convicted her again of first-degree murder. That jury, however, exonerated her on a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and Shellye Stark was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.
Moore testified in May 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 said. “She’s not a beauty queen. She’s like us. She’s human. When she smiled, the room would light up.”
Former Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said in Moore’s May trial that investigators clearly showed he came up with a plan, traveled to Spokane to get a layout of Stark’s South Hill home and forged documents to get Dale Stark’s money.
On the night of the shooting, Shellye Stark presented Dale Stark with the restraining order Moore helped write, which prosecutors said was done in hopes Dale Stark would get mad and give his wife justification to shoot him.
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla pointed out to jurors that Shellye Stark and Moore, whom he identified as her pimp, had several long conversations prior to the killing.
“Mr. Moore was not in love with Mrs. Stark. He is a greedy man,” Cipolla said. “He in fact is a puppet master who sent Shellye Stark to do his dirty work.”
Most of Dale Stark’s insurance money went to his son, Christopher Stark, who gave part of the $400,000 to Moore to help fund a medical marijuana growing operation.