Clay Starbuck’s fate was sealed on June 4. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Gregory Sypolt made it official on Thursday.
Starbuck was convicted last month of premeditated first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances in the killing of his ex-wife, Chanin, in her Deer Park home in December 2011. Under state sentencing guidelines, Starbuck was required to receive a life sentence with no chance of parole for his crime. In addition, he also received a 12-month sentence for his conviction of violating human remains.
He is to have no contact with his three youngest children (all minors) until Starbuck successfully completes a mental evaluation by the Department of Corrections.
Prior to rendering the sentence, Sypolt allowed various family members to speak on behalf of Chanin and Clay Starbuck.
Chanin Starbuck’s mother, Melanie Bourcier, spoke for 30 minutes from a prepared text. Bourcier’s anger grew during her time in front of the judge, detailing her daughter’s life with defendant.
She called Clay Starbuck a “spineless coward” as a parent for brainwashing the couple’s five children against their mother.
She also referred him to Ted Bundy for being a smooth talking sociopath.
“I hate you with every cell in my body for what you did to my precious daughter,” she said.
Chanin’s younger brother, Stephen Conway, called his late sister “my friend, my protector.”
“You (Clay Starbuck) are the only person who hurt her,” added Chanin’s sister, Amy Showers.
Also speaking in Chanin Starbuck’s defense was a quartet of high school and Deer Park friends.
Four of the five Starbuck children spoke in defense of their father (Sutton Starbuck’s statement was read by a family friend). They also professed their love for their father and reiterated their defense throughout the trial that Clay Starbuck was railroaded and the real killer is still on the loose.
“I will be thrilled when my dad gets his fair trial and is found innocent,” said Blake Starbuck.
Clay Starbuck’s mother, Betty Starbuck, and his sister, Kathy Nasholm, also spoke in his defense.
“Chanin was afraid of someone and it was not Clay,” Nasholm said.
The Starbuck children and other family members left the courtroom without making any further statements.
Clay Starbuck spoke for a few seconds, noting that most of his comments were part of arguments he and his attorneys would use during the appeal process.
He said he would “debate those issues at another time.”
In pronouncing the sentence, Sypolt noted that Chanin Starbuck’s case had some of the most aggravating circumstances surrounding a Spokane area murder in recent memories.
He called the brutality Chanin Starbuck faced at the time of her death showed a basic disregard to humanity.