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Examiner describes injuries in Clay Starbuck case

The jury spent half the day Thursday hearing testimony and looking through autopsy photos from a prolonged attack that killed Chanin Starbuck.

The key testimony came from Spokane County Medical Examiner Dr. Sally Aiken, who painstakingly described every bruise, broken rib and internal injury that she said had to have been inflicted over a long period of time.

Three wounds, on each breast and the hand, were pattern wounds that could have come from a stun gun, Aiken said. Starbuck, 42, also had bruises that could have come when the killer moved her body sometime on Dec. 1, 2011.

“Some also could be defensive wounds where she is trying to protect her face with her arms,” Aiken said. “By the sheer number of bruises, they can’t be contemporaneous. There is a time interval here, obviously.”

The testimony came in the fourth day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of 48-year-old Clay D. Starbuck, who months before had divorced Chanin Starbuck a second time. He faces life without parole if convicted of murder and the companion charge of sexually violating human remains.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said he could finish his case by Monday, and defense attorney Derek Reid predicted he would need two days to call witnesses.

Reid said he expects the testimony of Clay Starbuck should take a half-day next week.

Investigators found Chanin Starbuck on her bed in a sexually suggestive position. The sheets from the bed and towels from the bathroom were located in her clothes washer, suggesting her killer cleaned up the crime scene.

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