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Starbuck’s killer knew of her kids, state suggests

Detectives used phone records Wednesday to make the case that Chanin Starbuck’s killer had intimate knowledge of the family.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz had Detective Lyle Johnston narrate a display of all the text messages and phone calls from the phones of 48-year-old Clay Starbuck and his ex-wife, 42-year-old Chanin Starbuck, who was strangled in her Deer Park home.

Phone records from Dec. 1, 2011, show that Clay Starbuck texted his ex-wife at 8:06 a.m. saying his car broke down and asked her to take the kids to school. Chanin responded at 8:08 a.m. saying “K.” That response was later deleted, Johnston said.

Clay Starbuck’s phone either ran out of batteries or was shut off at 8:13 a.m. and remained off for seven hours and 24 minutes.

Chanin’s phone called 911 at 9:18 a.m. and was then shut off for about three hours. The phone came on in the afternoon and began responding to kids’ requests to be picked up at school. In one of the messages, someone using her phone wrote to daughter Logan at 3:06 p.m., “Send Marsh a note Austin will be there.”

Johnston said “we believe that Chanin has already been killed” by that time.

“Whoever is sending these messages is obviously aware of their school situation and is expressing concern that the kids get picked up,” Johnston said. “That suggests to me that whoever is texting this would have intimate knowledge of the kids’ school situation.”

The state is expected to end its case today against Starbuck, who is charged with aggravated first-degree murder. Defense attorneys have said they will need about two days to present their case.

Follow live coverage of the Starbuck trial on Twitter at @SRTrials.