Local News

Graphic court testimony shows how Chanin Starbuck died

SPOKANE, Wash. - On the second day of testimony in the Clay Starbuck murder trial, testimony from the Starbuck children and the introduction of graphic images were shown to the jury to show how she was found after she was killed.

While the children were called to the stand as witnesses for prosecutors, don't make the mistake of thinking they were testifying against their father. They have repeatedly said they think their father is innocent of killing their mother Chanin.

Up until now, the Starbuck kids have had to wait out in the hallway outside the courtroom. As witnesses, they were barred from the courtroom. But now that they've offered their testimony they may chose to watch the rest of the trial.

Starbuck Tuesday

Fortunately, the children weren't in court when prosecutors introduce more than a hundred crime scene photos. The state is using pictures to put the jury in the same room where Chanin was attacked. Most of the imagery are very graphic, showing that Starbuck had been beaten from head to toe and was also posed after her death to further degrade her.

"This is a closer view of the victim's mid-section, showing the massager laying on her abdomen, her hands covered over it," Spokane County Sheriff's Office Detective Lyle Johnston testified on the stand Tuesday.

The Starbuck children think the way their mom's remains were violated is a sign she was killed by a sexual deviant she met through online dating. The prosecution says positioning is the work of a jealous husband who wanted to make it look like Chanin had been killed by one of her new boyfriends.

Also on Tuesday, detectives walked the jury through the home, room by room but then returned to the bed where Chanin was found.

After the photos were admitted as evidence the defense took the opportunity to talk about evidence that was overlooked. For example an open gun safe in the bedroom that contained some adult sex toys and condoms was not fingerprinted.

Spokane's medical examiner will soon be offering her testimony, including the fact Chanin may have been tortured before she was killed. Following the medical examiner, the men Chanin was dating at the time of her death will testify, including a teacher who went to Chanin's home three times the same day she was murdered.