Clay Starbuck's appeal claims mistakes in murder investigation



Posted on May 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 5:43 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Clay Starbuck claims that he is innocent and is appealing his murder conviction. He was convicted of murdering his ex-wife Chanin Starbuck in June 2013.

Her beaten body was found in her Deer Park home in December of 2011.

The couple’s five children have backed their father from the beginning. Starbuck has also proclaimed his innocence in interviews with KREM 2 News.

WATCH: Four Starbuck kids defend their father

KREM 2 News received new documents Thursday that were filed in Starbuck’s appea. The documents allege mistakes made during the investigation.

The 77-page appeal brief was put together by Starbuck’s attorney. It alleges misconduct throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case. The biggest complaint is the dozens of pieces of forensic evidence not tested.

In letters sent to KREM 2 News, Starbuck appears hopeful his conviction will someday be overturned.

READ: Killer Clay Starbuck sentenced to life without parole

The court documents for Starbuck’s appeal further cite five assignment errors that lead to what his supporters call a wrongful conviction. They said there was never enough evidence to prove Starbuck was the killer or that Chanin was even sexually violated after death.

They also said Starbuck was not granted a fair trial because alternate suspects were not introduced. Documents also said the 911 recording from Chanin’s phone the suspected morning of the murder never should have been played to the jury. They also accused the prosecutor of misconduct in his closing arguments.

The new filing states, “The police almost instantly assumed Clay did it. They did very little to test the wealth of forensic evidence at the scene that implicated others.”

MORE: Starbuck kids: "Detectives did a very, very horrific job"

The evidence includes several hairs and two different semen deposits on two different parts of Chanin’s body. Only one was tested and the DNA came back to an unknown male. It is something the jury never heard about.

The court documents also said the jury’s verdict in the case was based upon a paucity of evidence and a biased and halfhearted police investigation. They stated the jury’s verdict would have been different if the trial count had not prevented Starbuck from presenting the complete set of facts.

The Spokane County Prosecutor was unable to comment Thursday on the appeal.