Opening Statements In The Trial Of Clay Starbuck - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Opening Statements In The Trial Of Clay Starbuck

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SPOKANE, Wash. Opening statements began Thursday in the trial of Clay Starbuck, who is accused of murdering his ex-wife and sexually violating human remains. Chanin Starbuck was found dead in her deer park home in December of 2011. Not long after the murder deputies arrested her ex-husband Clay and said he was the man responsible for the crime. 

The state made their opening statements first and they said that the DNA showed it could have only been one of three people: Clay Starbuck or two of his kids. The kids were at work and school. 

The defense talked about Clay as a family man and said that he was a devoted father who spoke with Chanin only in the interest of their children. Clay Starbuck called Crime Check out of concern for Chanin and he consoled the kids about the loss of their mother.

The defense claimed Clay voluntarily offered all of his information including cell phone records and DNA because they claim Clay had nothing to hide. 

KHQ Local News will be in the courtroom for the duration of this trial.


DEER PARK, Wash – The trial for Clay Starbuck, 48, is now underway at the Spokane County Courthouse, beginning with jury selection.

Starbuck is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the December 2011 death of his ex-wife, Chanin Starbuck, at her Deer Park home, and sexually violating her remains.

Monday, KHQ learned the defense plans to call Chanin's own mother as a witness in the case, meaning she can not sit in on the proceedings against her own daughter's accused killer.  As a result, she was not able to comment to KHQ Monday.

This case began back in late 2011, when Chanin Starbuck's out-of-town relatives reported to police they hadn't heard from her in a while, her phone was off, and they were concerned about potential domestic violence involving her ex-husband, Clay.

Chanin had filed four police reports with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office in the months before her death, concerned that Clay Starbuck had been entering her home and stealing property without her knowledge.

Through the course of the investigation, police began to believe Starbuck planned to kill his ex-wife, asked her to take their kids to school on the morning of December 1, 2011, then came into her home while she was away, hid, and attacked her upon her return.

Chanin Starbuck was found strangled on a bed, and police believe her body was positioned after her death so as to humiliate her.

In court Monday, a family friend told KHQ his wife was a supervisor in the dental program at Spokane Community College, which Chanin Starbuck had just graduated from a few months before her death.  Chanin reportedly told her, "Clay's going to kill me."

Monday, Clay Starbuck's defense attorney, Derek Reid, stood by the innocence of his client, telling KHQ, "I can't believe they arrested the wrong man."

Opening arguments are expected to begin later this week, and the trial is expected to last a month.

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