Local News

Starbuck requests new trial in appeal

SPOKANE, Wash. - Starbuck appeal vo

Clay Starbuck, convicted of killing his ex-wife Chanin in her Deer Park home in December 2011, is asking the Court of Appeals for a new trial.

This appeal is not so much about whether Spokane County Sheriff's detectives arrested the wrong man but rather did the judge make any mistakes that denied Starbuck's right to a fair trial.

Starbuck wasted little time challenging his conviction. Just 11 days after he was sentenced to life in prison, Starbuck filed his appeal.

Derek Reid was Starbuck's public defender during his two week trial. Reid was frustrated by the judge's decision to keep evidence about other viable suspects a secret from the jury. It was a complaint echoed by Starbuck's children.

"I feel that mistakes are being made left and right by the judge and prosecution. They aren't allowing certain evidence into the courtroom that is critical to my dad's defense," Blake Starbuck said in May 2013.

"Why do you not think your dad is the most likely reason your momma is dead," Jeff Humphrey asked Starbuck's son Austin in a May 2013 interview.

"It's just her history, she was addicted to seeing other men," Austin replied.

Starbuck launched his appeal because his jury was kept in the dark about some of those other men. The court blocked evidence that on the same day Chanin was killed a new boyfriend had texted her an x-rated request. He had asked for an explicit photo that matched the position Chanin Starbuck was found in.

While the suitor was cleared by detectives, Clay Starbuck thinks the jury should have known there were other men spending time with the victim.

"I believe they haven't investigated people as thoroughly as we all hoped they would," Austin Starbuck said.

Starbuck is serving his life sentence at the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, where his adult children regularly visit him.

The state sent Starbuck to prison without the possibility of parole. That sentence deserves a second look from the Court of Appeals and those judges there are not afraid to overturn a conviction if someone's rights have been violated.