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Preliminary date set in Starbuck murder trial

February 21, 2012

A preliminary April 16 court date has been set for a Deer Park man who was arrested on Feb. 6 in connection with the death of his ex-wife.
Clay Starbuck pled not guilty to the charge of aggravated first-degree murder of Chanin Starbuck in Spokane County Superior Court on Feb. 21.
Starbuck will remain in jail after Judge Annette Plese refused to lower his $1 million bond. His attorney, Derek Reid, had asked for a bail reduction based on Starbuck’s family ties and no prior criminal convictions.
Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz requested the original bond amount remain in place, noting that the suspect had lived in Alaska before moving to the Spokane area about a year ago.
The Chanin Starbuck family, speaking through a victim witness coordinator, also asked Plese to keep the $1 million bond intact.
According to court documents, Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives believe the 42-year-old Starbuck was killed on Dec. 1, based on a disconnected 911 call from her phone. Her body was discovered two days later inside her home at N509 Reiper St. in Deer Park after friends requested a welfare check.
Detectives believe Clay Starbuck lured the victim from her home by telling her that his car had broken down and asked her to drive their children to school. Investigators believe Starbuck then went to her home and waited for her return.
The Starbucks divorced for the second time last summer and were in legal battles over assets and child support payments when the killing occurred, according to court records.
Starbuck was arrested soon after state crime lab results confirmed that DNA found under Chanin Starbuck’s fingernails, on her neck and her face matched her ex-husband’s.

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