Defense, prosecutors trade barbs in Starbuck opening arguments

SPOKANE, Wash. - Opening statements got underway Thursday for Clay Starbuck, who is suspected of killing his ex-wife Chanin in her Deer Park home.

Prosecutors revealed Thursday that Chanin Starbuck was bruised from head to toe and may have been tortured before she was found in bed two days after she was strangled to death. They added during their opening statements that she had been ambushed by her jealous ex-husband and that he was so angry that she started seeing other men, that he degraded her with sex toys after her death.

It was the first time prosecutors accused Starbuck of torturing his ex-wife. The medical examiner thinks Chanin may have been alive for up two hours before her lungs finally filled with fluid.

Starbuck opening arguments

"She'll also testify that in addition to the bruises and contusions, Miss Starbuck, on her breast area had appeared to be a burn mark from potentially a taser. There were also other areas on her body that had those same type of burn marks," Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said.

Starbuck was using a hidden computer program to spy on Chanin, prosecutors said, adding that he was intercepting the x-rated messages she was sending to her online lovers. Detectives think Starbuck waited until he knew that Chanin was meeting with two of those men on the same day before he launched his deadly attack, hoping one of the new boyfriends would be blamed for the killing.

In his first interview with detectives Starbuck portrayed his ex-wife  as very promiscuous.

"The defendant spent most of his time speaking about Miss Starbuck, her sexual proclivities and about men that she had dated and the fact that the children didn't like her," Steinmetz said.

However it's the Starbuck children who accurately pointed out that's the very type of information detectives needed to solve the homicide and that Clay Starbuck, the son of a police officer, knew that.

Starbuck's defense team, meanwhile said that any one of those new suitors could have killed Chanin and that Starbuck DNA was not found on some of the most important evidence in the case. They also added that Starbuck has been cooperating with investigators in the murder investigation.

"He came from Deer Park down to the Public Safety Building, well what do you need? Would you mind if we took your DNA, absolutely, would you mind if we searched your phone? Here," Defense attorney Derek Reid said.

The defense says male Starbuck DNA found on Chanin came from when Clay and Chanin were still living in the same home where the murdered happened while no Starbuck DNA was found on Chanin's phone, which is significant because prosecutors accuse Clay of ghost texting to Chanin's boyfriend even after she was dead.

"The phone that the state will make the point that Mr. Starbuck was using and they got this DNA, but it's not his. Unidentified male," Reid said.

The trial continues Monday when the court, including the predominantly female jury, will hear from the first witnesses in the case.