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Teachers, text messages take center stage at Starbuck murder trial

SPOKANE, Wash. - Two teachers took the stand today in the Clay Starbuck murder trial, one, to tell about the affair he had with the murder victim and the other, with a chilling warning Starbuck gave days before his ex-wife was killed.

Meredith Pearson, one of the Starbuck's children's fifth grade teacher, took the stand Wednesday morning to recall a conversation she had with the defendant during a parent - teacher conference about Chanin's behavior.

"He said, 'I wouldn't be surprised if we found her dead. I wouldn't be surprised if we found her with her throat slit open," Pearson said.

Starbuck murder trial

Chanin Starbuck was killed inside her Deer Park home in December of 2011.

Prosecutors also called Lewis and Clark High School teacher John Kenlein to the stand. He admitted he was having a sexual relationship with Chanin and the day of the murder they were supposed to meet. He went to the house, knocked on the door and even went to a pay phone to try and call her but to no avail.

Clay Starbuck is also being accused of trying to cover his tracks by sending suggestive texts from Chanin's phone to her boyfriends like Kenlein. Prosecutors laid out conversations Kenlein had with Chanin's phone in the hours after he attempted to enter the home and hours after she was murdered. One such text, posted from her phone hours after she was killed:  "Did you stop by????"

Defense attorneys tried to discredit Kenlein's intentions by asking his reasoning for trying to open the door to Chanin's house. They also brought up the fact he went to her home four times the day she was murdered and yet he never shared his concerns about not being able to reach her with anyone.

Prosecutors started bringing up motive, and even called a family dentist to the stand who said he had a conversation with Chanin, who had said she was worried Clay would harm her to get out of child support payments.