SPOKANE - It took a jury less than a day to convict Shellye Stark for the 2007 slaying of her estranged husband Dale in their South Hill home.
Throughout the trial prosecutors portrayed Stark as a calculating killer who pre-planned her husband's execution in order to reap the benefits from his death.
"Shellye Stark left California, she came to Spokane, she armed herself, she fixed [the] crime scene and she waited and drew him in, kicked out the witnesses and executed Dale Robert Stark," Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell told the jury during the trial.
Stark's attorneys tried to defend her as a victim of battered woman's syndrome, having suffered years of physical, psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of her estranged husband. They claimed that she was forced into a life of prostitution by her husband to pay off his gambling debts.
On the night of Dale Stark's death, the defense team worked to maintain that she was defending herself when she shot him several times in the back. On the witness stand Shellye Stark claimed that Dale was charging towards her while also threatening her and making a move toward a knife on the counter.
"I was so afraid, so afraid, so I fired the weapon. I wanted him to go, I never wanted to kill him, I never wanted to kill him," Stark said.
Stark faces up to 31 years in prison on the 1st Degree Murder Charge plus an additional five years on a deadly weapon enhancement.