Judge prevents woman accused of Angoon murder from rejoining kids

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The woman charged with second-degree murder in the Angoon stabbing death of Richard "Buddy" George in July won't get out of jail to live with her children, a Juneau judge ruled Monday.

Denni Starr, 22, is still held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $50,000 bail.

She is accused of fatally stabbing George, the father of her two children, on July 26 in their home. The youngest child, 17 months, was believed to be in his arms when he was stabbed.

Defense attorney Phillip Pallenberg asked Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks to permit Starr to be released to her parents.

Her mother, Dolores Starr, testified that she and her husband live in Everett, Wash., but they have been staying in Juneau with the children since the day after George's death.

She said the children need to be with their only living parent.

Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen said he was concerned with the proposed arrangement.

"Are you aware of the allegations as to why there's only one parent?" he asked the defendant's mother.

Starr is charged with endangerment of her 17-month-old daughter during the stabbing, Gullufsen said. The other daughter, age 6, is a prosecution witness, he added.

Pallenberg questioned whether the 6-year-old child would be forced to testify. Gullufsen said the child was a witness who provided incriminating evidence to Alaska State Troopers during their investigation. He said Starr changed her version of the events after being confronted with the child's story.

Starr's mother said she and her husband have not and would not talk about the case with the children.

Pallenberg said Starr poses no risk to the community. George's death, he said, has to be put in context of his relationship with Starr, who gave birth to their first child when she was 16 years, 2 months old. The relationship included "many years of domestic violence against Denni Starr," he added.

During much of the hearing, Starr sat next to Pallenberg and sobbed, with her face buried in her hands.

Weeks said he wouldn't have any trouble releasing Starr to her parents, but he did not want to release her into the home with her children.

He scheduled Starr's trial for Dec. 1 in Angoon. Gullufsen said he expects the trial to take 10 days.

Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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