Former lovers testify in Starbuck murder trial



Posted on May 15, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 5:27 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Two men who had relationships with murder victim Chanin Starbuck testified about the day she died.

Starbuck’s ex-husband Clay Starbuck is charged with strangling her in December 2011 at her Deer Park Home.
Yet, two of Chanin's former lovers told the jury they received texts from her hours after police think she died. Both men claim to have alibis on the day she was killed, but one of the men told jurors that he knocked on Chanin's door four different times the day she died.

Two men admitted to having a relationship with Chanin at the time of her murder. One of those men, John Kenlein, told the jurors that he wanted nothing but sex from Chanin. He said Chanin did not know he was married.
John Kenlein worked as a teacher and coach at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane during his affair with Chanin. He admitted to using the name John Wilson online. Kenlein testified that he had sex with Chanin on multiple occasions when their relationship began a few months prior to her death.

Kenlein took the day off of work the day Chanin died because he claimed the two were supposed to have a date. Kenlein claimed Chanin never answered the door that day so he walked around her home to investigate.

“I went into her backyard for a moment. I knew where her bedroom window was. I checked for lights if the fan was running in bathroom,” said Kenlein.

He testified that he left and tried to contact Chanin from a public pay phone in Deer Park. She did not respond so he claimed he returned to her house. Kenlein said Chanin did not answer. Kenlein told investigators that he then returned to Spokane and used a public computer to try and contact her.

Kenlein said he exchanged multiple messages with Chanin's phone around 12:30 p.m. However, detectives believe Chanin died just after 9:00 a.m. Whoever was messaging Kenlein asked him to come back later that night around 10:45 p.m. according to court documents.

Kenlein returned to the house that evening and claimed it was dark. He admitted to even rattling the doorknob at Chanin’s house but it was locked.

Defense lawyers said Kenlein was not immediately helpful to police and essentially lived a double life online. Lawyers said Kenlein did not cooperate until investigators began giving more details to the media.

Another man testified on Wednesday as well. He admitted to texting with Chanin but he was cleared early in the investigation. His alibi was that he had to attend a funeral.