Starkweather to be sentenced in May

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sentencing of Justin Starkweather was set for May 20 by Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Cranston on Wednesday.

Starkweather is the 23-year-old man convicted of the 2002 sexual assault and attempted murder of a 46-year-old woman in her home near West Poppy Lane.

During a status hearing Wednesday, Anchorage attorney Cynthia Strout informed the court she would continue representing Starkweather during the sentencing phase of the case.

Strout had filed a motion earlier saying Starkweather's financial resources had been exhausted and his family was attempting to raise additional money so she could continue to represent him.

"I will not be withdrawing," Strout said telephonically.

"The family has been able to obtain additional financing."

Cranston instructed Strout to file a pre-sentencing memorandum by April 15; he gave Kenai District Attorney June Stein until April 29 to respond; and he said Strout's reply is due May 6.

A jury found Starkweather guilty in October of first-degree sexual assault, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and fourth-degree theft. He faces up to 159 years in prison.

During the course of the trial, the jurors learned that an attacker broke through three doors in the victim's home to get to her in her bedroom, apparently beat her and stomped on her face repeatedly until nearly every facial bone was broken, sexually assaulted her and left her lying on her back in a pool of blood with a chest of drawers lying across her.

Investigators found footprints in the snow leading back and forth between the victim's house and Starkweather's across the street.

Bloody clothing of Starkweather's was found in a garbage bag on a pickup parked in Starkweather's driveway. A pair of Nike shoes with a sole pattern matching that of some of the footprints also was found.

A second pair of shoes — Lugz boots — with a sole pattern matching other footprints, was found in a crawl space beneath the Starkweather home.

A jewelry box belonging to the victim was found under Starkweather's bed.

DNA mixture evidence found on a bloody glove failed to exclude the victim or Starkweather, and no DNA foreign to Starkweather or the victim was found in a mixture sample collected from a swab of the victim's breast.

Starkweather is being held at Spring Creek Correctional Facility.

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