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Alabama man, brother sentenced to life in federal prison for murder-for-hire for ex-wife’s 2017 shooting death

Sara Starr (Carol Robinson/

An Alabama man and his brother have been sentenced 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 convicted in September 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.

A federal judge in Montgomery on Thursday sentenced the Starr brothers to life in prison, said Middle District of Alabama Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross.

There is no parole in the federal system.

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 the jury determined that the money sent by Jason Starr to his brother was payment for the murder of his ex-wife.

“This premeditated murder devastated the victim’s family and the surrounding community,” Ross said. “Jason and Darin Starr deserve to spend the rest of their lives separated from society for the terrible crime they committed.”

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 B. Chelsea Phillips and Joshua J. Wendell prosecuting.


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