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Sunday, January 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Dead man’s name forged on checks

Killer’s father faces trial on theft charge

The story of a woman who worked as a prostitute before murdering her husband has reemerged in an otherwise low-level theft case in Spokane County Superior Court.

Curtis A. Johnson, 69, is scheduled for trial next month on one count of first-degree identity theft after police say he cashed two checks with signatures forged to look like murder victim Dale R. Stark’s.

Stark, 48, was gunned down in a south Spokane home on Dec. 9, 2007, by his estranged wife and Johnson’s daughter, Shellye L. Stark. A jury convicted Shellye Stark, 47, of first-degree murder in March, and she’s serving 50 years in prison.

On Dec. 28, 2007, less than a month after the murder, someone transferred $9,500 from Dale Stark’s home equity line into a credit union account Shellye Stark seized after her husband’s murder.

Johnson reportedly cashed two checks from that credit union account – one for $3,000, which the account already had in it; the other for $9,500 that had been transferred into the account, prosecution documents allege.

A handwriting expert with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab said Johnson signed Stark’s name to the checks, according to court documents.

Johnson, of Priest River, Idaho, could not be reached for comment.

Reached by phone, his daughter Karen Jacquetta said she knew little about the case and couldn’t comment.

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