SPOKANE, Wash. - Clay Starbuck entered a pair of not guilty pleas Tuesday in conjunction with the murder of his ex-wife Chanin Starbuck.
The Deer Park man appeared during his Tuesday morning arraignment this morning in Spokane Superior Court and asked that his million dollar bail be reduced. Starbuck's defense attorney also asked that his client be released on his own recognizance.
"As Mister Starbuck had no history and has met all the criteria it terms of what would be necessary in order to ensure his appearance for subsequent court dates I would ask the court to release him on his own recognizance or reduce the bond significantly," public defender Derek Reid said.
However prosecutors allege that Starbuck, who has a job and friends in Valdez, Alaska is a flight risk and if released, would try to influence his children's testimony.
"It appears Mister Starbuck may attempt to influence his children. They are witnesses with respect to his alibi or lack of alibi," Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said.
Judge Annette Plese agreed with the state's concerns and let Starbuck's bail stand at $1 Million.
Meanwhile Starbuck, 47, is gearing up for a different type of court fight. Last Friday Chanin Starbuck's brother will ask the court to give him custody of the Starbuck's minor children.
Stephen Conway wants the court's permission to take the two boys, age 11 and 12 and a 15-year-old girl back to Florida where Conway lives with his wife Angela.
In his petition, Conway explains Starbuck will not likely be released from jail and that the children need to be moved away from Deer Park due to the publicity this case has received.
Conway also alleges that Clay Starbuck's mother believes her son has been "framed" for the murder and that the children's best hopes of recovery lie with relatives who are not in denial.
Starbuck's mother Betty says, according to court documents, that her son was framed and she blames Chanin for her own death, saying that, "if Chanin had only listened to her son (Clay Starbuck) none of this would have happened."
Attorney Susan Embree, who is representing Conway, said earlier this month that she doesn't think the kids should live with anybody who is in denial.
"I believe they've arrested the right person. I believe they probably did a good job, took their time, did a good investigation and that justice will be served," she said.
Austin Starbuck, 20, the oldest of the children, has also petitioned the court to award him custody of his younger siblings in order to keep the surviving member of his family together.
Unfortunately with their mom dead and their dad in jail these kids have no income. A fund has been set up for the children and people can make a donation to that fund at any Washington Trust branch.