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Starbuck guilty of ex-wife's killing

Published On: Jun 04 2013 05:28:34 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 04 2013 08:34:19 PM CDT
Clay Starbuck
SPOKANE, Wash. -

After several hours of deliberations a jury found Clay Starbuck guilty of killing his ex-wife Chanin.

The jury also found aggravating factors in the murder, that he was guilty of sexually violating human remains. The jury did not find that the murder was unusually cruel. Found guilty of murder with at least one aggravating circumstance, Starbuck is now facing a potential life sentence without possibility of parole.

Starbuck's attorney said they will appeal his conviction.

Chanin's mother Melanie Bourcier reacted to the verdict in the hallway outside the courtroom after the hearing, saying that her ex-son-in-law's motivations for killing her daughter were greed, anger and jealousy,

"The death penalty would be too easy. I hope he goes to prison with his kind and gets what he deserves every single day," Bourcier said.

Starbuck was on trial for the Dec. 2011 killing of his ex-wife, Chanin Starbuck. Prosecutors alleged Starbuck broke into his ex-wife's home, waited for her to return, and then strangled her to death. Her body was found lying on her bed and showed signs of being beaten, with bruises from head to foot.

During the trial, prosecutors maintained that when Clay Starbuck realized Chanin had moved on following their divorce, and with his falling behind on thousands of dollars in child support, he orchestrated her killing.

"At the heart of this killing, and I would submit the motive, is greed, anger, obsession and jealousy," Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said during closing arguments Monday.

The defense team, meanwhile, claimed Starbuck's innocence by pointing out he fully cooperated with detectives throughout the investigation into his ex-wife's death. Defense attorney Derek Reid claimed that detectives failed to fully investigate other potential suspects, among them a number of people who she had met through a dating website, among them John Kenlein, who was supposed to meet Chanin on the day she was killed and attempted to contact her several times, even approaching the home to try and contact her.

"The state asks you could else have could have done this? Ladies and gentlemen John Kenlein was there four times that day and he didn't see anything," Reid said during his closing argument.

Prosecutors rebuffed Reid's argument, saying they had cleared Kenlein in the course of the investigation.