(NewsReady.com) – Two men have been jailed for life over a 2017 contract killing. In September, a jury convicted the pair of arranging for one to shoot the other’s ex-wife after she was awarded child support and alimony during their divorce. They tried to blame a United States Army veteran who had killed himself after the crime, but in fact, he was the one who threw suspicion on the brothers.
On November 27, 2017, 37-year-old elementary school teacher Sara Starr was leaving her Coffee County, Alabama, home to go to work when she was shot dead in her driveway. Months later, a former US Army helicopter pilot committed suicide and left a note behind. In that note, he suggested that investigators looking into the murder add Sara’s ex-husband, Jason Starr, and his brother, Darin Starr, as persons of interest in that probe. Investigators found that Jason Starr and the victim had been through a bitter divorce, and a judge had ordered Starr to pay Sara $2,500 a month in alimony and child support. He was also ordered to give her a share of the military benefits he’d earned in the US Army.
Instead, he gave his brother a motorcycle and paid her $2,600. Police found that on the night of November 26/27, Darin Starr turned his cell phone off for approximately seven hours. When he turned it back on, its location showed him on the interstate, heading from Alabama back to his home in Texas.
Darin Starr’s defense team tried to present an “alternative perpetrator” defense, which blamed the killing on the dead pilot. However, the judge dismissed this as “rank speculation” and pointed out that there was no real evidence to back it up. The Starr brothers were sentenced to life in prison; under Alabama law, murder for hire carries a mandatory sentence of either life imprisonment or the death penalty.
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