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.