Angoon murderer sentenced to 30 years

Posted: Sunday, February 06, 2005

Denni Starr was sentenced Friday to serve 30 years in prison for fatally stabbing Richard "Buddy" George, and another year for endangering their 17-month-old daughter.

George died at the couple's Angoon home on July 26, 2003. According to testimony in the September trial, Starr and George had a tempestuous relationship as well as two children. Witnesses alleged that both Starr and George struck each other during their arguments.

At a hearing in Sitka, the setting for the trial where jurors found Starr guilty, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks imposed 45 years with 15 years suspended for second-degree murder and the maximum one year for misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

In addition to listening to arguments from attorneys in the case, he also heard George's parents, Richard George Sr. and Barbara George, who talked about how their son's killing affected their lives.

"That's as important as anything else," said Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen, who argued Friday for a 50-year sentence with 10 years suspended for second-degree murder.

Starr's attorney, Assistant Public Advocate Steven Wells, said he argued for a 35-year sentence with 10 suspended. "I think the judge listened to both sides and made his decision," he said.

Weeks also ordered Starr to be on probation for 10 years after her release from custody.

Gullufsen said it was a different sort of domestic violence case than the courts usually see because a man was the victim. It might be easy for some to give Starr too much benefit of doubt, he added.

"It was important we didn't let gender influence us," Gullufsen said.

According to evidence and testimony presented at the trial, George was leaving the couple's home, holding their younger child during an argument, when Starr went to the kitchen and came back with a knife. George was fatally stabbed in the back with a knife that had a 9-inch blade.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at

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