SPOKANE -- Shellye Stark, the Spokane woman accused of murdering her husband took the stand Wednesday. For the first time Stark told her side of the story, one that includes prostitution and topless dancing.
Stark faces First Degree Murder charges in the death of her husband Dale.
Shellye argued that she shot her husband in self defense following years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
"Dale was a very nice guy," she said as she took the stand on Wednesday.
She testified that the first time her husband asked her to be a prostitute was just a couple months after they started dating.
"He expressed a sexual fantasy of seeing me standing on a street corner in Hollywood," she testified.
Stark complied despite her thoughts that it was an usual request.
"He really, really wanted me to do it and I just wanted him to stop asking me," she told the court.
She went on to say that Dale then forced her to sell sex at a massage parlor and work as a topless dancer.
"Dale would keep me in the sex industry," she said. "He would be happy to share that I was working in the sex industry with my mother sister and son."
Stark claimed Dale would set up sexual encounters to pay off his gambling addiction. She also testified that he beat and choked her two or three dozen times over their 23 year marriage.
"Seeing the look in his eyes when he would [choke me] made me think about everything I said or did," she testified.
Shellye's attorneys began to establish the foundation that she was a victim of Battered Women's Syndrome and she shot and killed her husband in self defense.
Prosecutors say the murder was planned to cash in on her estranged husbands car, house and life insurance policies.
Shellye will be back on the stand Thursday morning. She's expected to testify about what happened the night of the murder.
Her defense attorneys plan to call a world expert on Battered Women's Syndrome to the stand.
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