An Alabama man and his brother have been convicted in a murder-for-hire conspiracy in the death of his ex-wife, an elementary school teacher and mother of four.
Jason Starr, 50, and Darin Starr, a 54-year-old Texas resident, were indicted on federal charges of racketeering murder in the Nov. 27, 2017, shooting death of Sara Starr, a fourth-grade teacher at Harrand Creek Elementary School in Enterprise and the mother of two sets of twins.
The federal trial began last week in the Middle District of Alabama. The jury reached its verdict late Wednesday morning.
Sara Starr was killed just four months of her divorce was finalized.
The couple was to share custody of their four children, and Jason Starr was ordered to pay his ex-wife $1,050 a month in child support and $1,500 in alimony. She also was awarded a portion of his military benefits.
Shortly after the divorce, from September 2017 to November 2017, Jason Starr sent approximately $2,600 to his brother, Darin Starr, authorities said. He reportedly also gave his brother a motorcycle.
Testimony in the trial showed that cell phone records indicated that Darin Starr traveled from Texas to Coffee County just before Thanksgiving in 2017 and, on multiple occasions, was very near the home of his brother’s ex-wife.
Around midnight on November 27, 2017, Darin Starr’s phone was turned off.
About seven hours later, Darin Starr shot and killed his brother’s ex-wife in her driveway as she was leaving for work.
Darin Starr turned his phone back on around 8 a.m. when he was on I-10 heading back to Texas.
Federal prosecutors said in rendering its verdict – which came late Wednesday morning – the jury determined that the money sent by Jason Starr to his brother was payment for the murder of his ex-wife.
A sentencing hearing will be held in the coming months. That hearing date has not yet been announced.
The brothers face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The tragedy endured by the victim’s family is unthinkable,” said Middle District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart. “I am grateful for the hard work of all the investigating agencies in this case. Their efforts resulted in bringing Jason and Darin Starr to justice.”
The FBI, the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigated the case, with Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua J. Wendell and B. Chelsea Phillips prosecuting.
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