Murder suspect's son takes witness stand



Posted on September 12, 2012 at 5:21 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- A man caught in the middle of a Spokane murder trial took the witness stand Wednesday.

A jury convicted Shellye Stark of the first-degree, premeditated murder of her husband Dale in 2009, but an appeals court overturned the conviction in 2010.

Shellye and Dale’s son Chris painted a picture of his father as a man with a temper when he took the stand. He said Dale often lashed out at his mother verbally. Chris was just 17 when his father was killed.

Shellye listened intently to her son’s testimony, even tearing up at times. Chris walked the jury through the events of the day in December of 2007 when his father died.

He told the jury Shellye asked his cousin to serve Dale with a restraining order. When Dale arrived at the house, Chris said his cousin served the papers, and then Dale started walking toward Shellye. At that point, the two boys ran from the house. That’s when they heard gunshots.

“About the time I had made it to the steps, that’s when I heard the first gunshot. When I heard the first gunshot, that’s when I started running to my car,” Chris said in court. “It wasn’t something I was expected. There was adrenaline going through me. I didn’t know exactly what was going on.”

Chris said mother and father argued constantly, and Dale would occasionally throw things at Shellye. When prosecutors asked Chris if he remembered any other physical abuse, he admitted he never saw any.

The defense announced they may call Chris back to the witness stand later in the trial.

Court will resume again Thursday morning with the prosecution.

Defense attorneys will not call any witnesses until Monday. They are expected to start with Shellye.

Her boyfriend Brian Moore heads back to court again next week, also on murder charges. His first trail ended in a mistrial last May. The jury failed to reach a decision. Prosecutors say Moore helped plot Dale’s murder.