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Keeping track of who is still married

A friend was talking about encountering a Spokane man who turned out to be a good guy.

But here's the thing. My friend knew that the fellow was at one time married to a woman my friend had worked with a few years ago. He wasn't sure, though, that they were still a couple.

He had heard something about a divorce or almost-divorce.

So he wisely steered clear of that whole subject.

Smart man. There are so many situations where it is simply better to say nothing.

I was at a gathering about a year ago where I encountered a man I knew but had not seen in many years. I reminded him of a cookout we had attended not long after I moved to Spokane in the late '80s. At that time, his first child was just a few days away from being born.

He didn't seem to warm to this congenial stroll down memory lane. Later, I figured out why.

The wife standing with him at that event last year was not the same wife who had been great with child at that cookout almost 25 years ago.

For those who have been divorced

If the tabloid press had covered the breakup of your marriage, they would have…

A) Had a hard time finding anything all that salacious. B) Had a field day. C) Simply made an awful situation even worse. D) Had occasion to use phrases like “Love Triangle,” “Love Nest,” “Boy Toy,” “Serial Adulterer” and “The Other Woman.” E) Probably prompted me to do something that would have landed me in jail for a long time. F) Taken my side. G) Rightly portrayed one of us as unhinged. H) Described one of us as a latter day Julianne Phillips. I) Paid someone at my office for access to emails. J) Discovered that some human sadness just doesn't sell. K) Other. 

Man used transmitter to track wife’s sex

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) — Police have charged a Pennsylvania man with hiding a remote listening device under his estranged wife's bed that he said he used to avoid overhearing her sex life in the house they still shared.

Raccoon Township police say 66-year-old Wayne Comet Cripe's wife contacted them after finding the transmitter under her bed last month. The Cripes are separated, but still share a home with separate bedrooms.

The Beaver County Times reports Thursday that Cripe acknowledged using the device, telling officers he put it there so he'd know when his wife and her boyfriend were having sex.

Police say Cripe was tired of overhearing the lovemaking and tried to use the device, which he said didn't work, to determine whether “the coast was clear” before returning home.

No attorney is listed for Cripe in court records.

Suspect displayed victim’s death notice

A Deer Park man accused of strangling his ex-wife and posing her dead body had her death certificate displayed in his home when detectives arrested him this week, detectives say.

  Clay Duane Starbuck, 47, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and sexually violating human remains in the death of Chanin Denice Starbuck, 42. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. The only other punishment if convicted of aggravated first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Starbuck, a former Alaska oil worker with no criminal history, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Friday afternoon via video from the jail after prosecutors formally charged him Thursday. He remains in jail on $1 million bond.

Read the rest of my story here.

Feb. 9: 911 dispatcher broke protocol in homicide call

Feb. 7: Police: Starbuck hid in home, posed ex-wife's body

New details in Starbuck murder case

A Deer Park mother of five found strangled to death in her home was positioned in a way to humiliate her and make detectives believe she had been sexually assaulted, according to information released Tuesday.

Clay Duane Starbuck, 47, is accused of murdering his ex-wife, Chanin Denice Starbuck, 42, after luring her from her home with their children, then breaking in and hiding until she returned, detectives wrote in a warrant that was used to search the suspect’s home at 1625 E. 2nd St. Monday night. Investigators seized dozens of items, including cameras, documents, computers and a cell phone.

Starbuck, a former oil worker in Alaska with no criminal history, was arrested Monday morning during a traffic stop in Deer Park. He remains in jail on $1 million bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon on charges of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. He’s prohibited from contacting his children, who are witnesses in the case. Spokane County sheriff’s officials say the children are staying with a close family friend.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 6: Ex-husband arrested for Deer Park woman's murder

Dec. 14: Search warrants sealed in Deer Park murder case

Ex-husband arrested in Deer Park murder

The ex-husband of a woman found strangled in her Deer Park home has been arrested for murder.

Clay Duane Starbuck was booked into jail Monday for the murder of Chanin Denice Starbuck, 42, who was found dead in her home at 509 N. Reiper St. Dec. 3. Deputies arrested him without incident during a traffic stop this morning in Deer Park.

The Starbucks, who have five children between the ages of 10 and 21, were in the midst of a contentious divorce when Chanin was killed.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 14: Search warrants sealed in Deer Park murder case

Couples avoid marriage for fear of divorce

Many committed couples aren't marrying because they fear divorce, a new study indicates, though many other reasons for and against marriage abound in young adults from different social classes.

Social pressures and thoughts of deeper commitment may promote wedding vows in middle-class young adults, while fears of extra responsibilities and the costs of exiting the relationship make working-class women more fearful of marriage. More here.

Isn't that like being afraid of walking because you might fall down? Are you afraid of marriage?

Fairfax says Steele rejected divorce idea

BOISE - When Larry Fairfax spoke with Edgar Steele about a plot to kill Steele's wife, he asked the North Idaho lawyer why he didn't divorce his wife instead.

“He said the last time he was going to get a divorce form her she was going to take too much, and we didn't want to part with all his possession and money,” Fairfax said today in U.S. District Court in Boise.
 
According to court records, Cyndi Steele filed for divorce in June 2000, alleging her husband “misrepresented his marital status and eligibility” in online dating profiles “with the sole intention of meeting women” in San Mateo, where he maintained a law office. The case was dismissed two months later and the couple remained married.
 
Now prosecutors allege Edgar Steele wanted his wife killed because he believed she was having an affair and because he was interested in a young woman in Europe.
 
Fairfax, the alleged hitman-turned-FBI informant, testified this morning that Steele had said “he hired a private investigator to follow his wife around and that she was having an affair with an old high school flame in Portland.”
 
Fairfax also said Steele was planning a 30-day trip to Europe.
 
Fairfax said he was working at Big Al's in Post Falls when an FBI agent called him on June 15 after the pipe bomb was found under Cyndi Steele's car. 
 
He's been in custody since and is to be sentenced after the trial for two federal firearms charges.

Complex case came down to 15 cows

 

For some of the best legal minds in Washington state, a complicated Spokane divorce that spanned two continents and a bloody civil war came down to this: 15 cows.

The missing herd was part of several legal arguments before the Division III Court of Appeals as justices contemplated custody of two children. In the end their mother, who relocated to Spokane from Sudan, retained custody.

“This saga spans southern Sudan to Spokane, and features a civil war, refugees seeking to escape Africa and a failure of consideration because the war prevented payment of the remaining cows owed the bride’s father,” Judge Kevin Korsmo wrote in an opinion released last week. “Against this chaotic backdrop, the facts and law are often unclear and in some dispute.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

The institution of marriage…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

I have referred to my wife as “my strong right arm”, which could be construed as a play on words since I happen to be left-handed, the latter of which I will concede is a demographic anomaly in its own right. It stands to reason that this balance of nature works for me since, as a former wild child of the 60's and 70's, I would be lying if I suggested for a moment I never sowed any wild oats in my past. However after nearly 20 years of living together in relative marital bliss, it also stands to reason that I would begin to reflect upon the state of our matrimony.

 

I did not begin this retrospect lightly, either. The Pew Research Center http://pewsocialtrends.org/2010/11/18/the-decline-of-marriage-and-rise-of-new-families/ actually did most of the hard journalistic foot work for me, in their far-reaching study of the decline of marriage as an American institution. While some of the Pew findings surprised me somewhat, some of them were nearly predictable, given the various ways our society has changed over the last few decades. It stands to reason that people are not getting married as often as they were twenty years ago, and those that do fall within a number of social and economic parameters that increasingly are part of the new face of society as we know and accept it to be in America today.

 

According to Pew, people who have better-than-average incomes stand a better chance than everyone else to have a sustained marital community, as do people with college educations. Pew also states that “In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were.” They raise the question, as do I, how many of today's youth will eventually formally tie the knot, as they seem much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation and various other forms of family, including gay and lesbian relationships, in a much more positive light.

 

I have always had a nearly morbid curiosity, perhaps even a suspicion about other people's marriages. Given the statistics from Pew, I have always had a hunch about how faithful and monogamous apparently-happily married couples really are. Pew suggests, and I once again concur, that the number of truly monogamous couples has been steadily dropping in the last decade. I cannot help but remember a well-respected member of the community, a Mormon with a good professional career and a picture-perfect family according to everyone who knows him, who was accused by his spouse of infidelity. I am somewhat surprised that their marriage still survives.

 

That is not to suggest for a moment that our marriage has not been tested in the fires of turmoil. Despite the fact my wife is very reticent about my discussing details of our private lives together, perhaps as well she should, we have had a number of personal tribulations that would perhaps try others. We conceived a daughter late in life, which we lost with terrible sadness and grief. We have endured financial hardship just when we thought we were safe. I lost several close personal friends, one to murder, several others to cancer, and in each case, we drew closer to one another rather than apart.

 

We have close personal friends who are not married, at least in the conventional sense our more-austere predecessors would have accepted. The thread of divorce runs as rampant through the lives of our friends as in our combined pasts, and yet we believe in the institution of marriage itself.

 

In the coming days and weeks, I will be exploring more about the bond (some refer to it as a jail sentence) of marriage. Feel free to share any insights you may have into marriage or other form of family-building.

 

Dave

Tiger Woods, Wife Officially Divorce

Tiger  Woods, his daughter, Sam, and wife Elin Nordegren, are shown before a NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., last November.  Woods and his wife are officially divorced. The lawyers for  Woods and Nordegren said in a statement that the  divorce became official today in Bay County Circuit Court, in Panama City, Fla. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Question: Do you hope that Tiger Woods returns to being a premier golfer now that his marital troubles are behind him? Or do you care at all?

Al & Tipper Separate After 40 Years

In this July 26, 2004, file photo, former Vice President Al Gore kisses his wife Tipper after addressing the delegates during the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston. Gore and his wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Question: Why do people separate and divorce after they’ve been married 25, 30, 35, 40 years and beyond?

Did Thompson use divorce to hide assets?

Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. divorced his wife to shield his assets and force taxpayers to foot the bill for his criminal defense, the federal prosecutor in the Otto Zehm case alleged in court documents filed last week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Durkin filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle to allow the government to tell the jury in Thompson’s upcoming trial about the divorce agreement, which Durkin called a “fraudulent transfer” under Idaho law.

Thompson’s attorney, Carl Oreskovich, called the fraud allegation “unsubstantiated.”

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage and a document containing federal allegations about Thompson’s divorce filing can be found here.

Guys: Take Heed

Alright gentleman. This one’s for you. When you are married, DO NOT overly clean your house… or really just don’t mess wit your wives things period. Here’s why: A german woman divorced her husband because he cleaned too much. They were married for 15 years, and during that time the woman just dealt with her husband cleaning the house, rearranging the furniture, and so one. Apparently this was the final straw though:
“…she ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home when it got dirty, Christian Kropp, court judge in the central town of Sondershausen, said on Thursday.”

Uh… does the term ‘Obsessive-Compulsive’ come to mind for anyone else?