Mother, Brother Of Murder Victim Chanin Starbuck Speak To KHQ
SPOKANE, Wash. -
A day after Clay Starbuck was found guilty of brutally murdering his ex-wife Chanin Starbuck in December 2011, her mother and brother tell KHQ a weight has been lifted.
"I wanted the truth to get out," Melanie Bourcier told KHQ's Kelsey Watts, finally relieved she's now free to talk about the case, and the loss of her precious daughter.
"Hell does not even begin to explain what our family has been through," Steve Conway, Chanin's brother, added. "When the deputy came to my door to say my sister was found dead in her own home, I had to go tell my mother, sister, father, that my sister was dead. That was the worst day of my life. And we all knew who did it."
Both Bourcier and Conway have believed their former son-in-law and brother-in-law, Clay Starbuck, was guilty.
They both live in Florida,but spent all of May in Spokane staying with friends, and came to the Spokane County Courthouse nearly every day for Starbuck's trial.
They say at the very beginning, they were subpoenad by the defense as potential witnesses, but hired lawyers to fight it so they could stay in the courtroom.
"There are many days I sat there and I didn't take my eyes off him," Bourcier added. "If looks could have killed, he would have been dead so many times."
They say Chanin was not the woman she was painted to be in court. They say she was a faithful wife and loving mother, who deserved better.
Still, the guilty verdict is not a win for Chanin's family. It's strained their relationship with the couple's five children, who have maintained their father is innocent.
"Now the only thing we have to deal with is building a relationship back with Chanin's children," Conway said, adding that the kids may not know all the facts about their father, and that he hopes someday they will.
"I called the grandkids this morning, but they didn't answer," Bourcier added. "It'll take time."
When they were told Tuesday afternoon that after a month of testimony, and one day of deliberation, the jury had reached its verdict, Bourcier says she was confident he would be found guilty.
"I just knew," she said. "I would have jumped up and done a little jig in the aisle, but we weren't allowed to do that.
"It felt like a ton of bricks had just lifted off us," Conway added.
The last time they saw Chanin was four months before her murder, in August 2011, when they took family photos together. They never knew they'd be the last.
"We had so much fun making these pictures," Bourcier recalled.
They will share the photos with the court when they both make statements at Clay Starbuck's sentencing, set for June 27th at 1:30.
"I just can't grasp that she's gone," Bourcier said.
And if they could speak with Chanin one more time: