Brothers convicted in murder-for-hire plot to avoid child support

MONTGOMERY, AL – A federal jury has convicted two Alabama brothers for the 2017 murder of one of the brother’s ex-wife. The crime was orchestrated to avoid paying child support and alimony, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Jason Starr, 50, and Darin Starr, 54, conspired to murder Sara Starr after a court ordered Jason to pay a significant portion of his income to Sara following their divorce.

Sara Starr, a 38-year-old elementary school teacher and mother of two sets of twins, was fatally shot outside her home in 2017. The court had ordered Jason, who had a net income of approximately $6,700 per month, to pay $2,550 monthly in child support and alimony to Sara, with whom he shared custody of their four children.

Over a two-month period starting in September 2017, Jason Starr transferred around $2,600 to his brother Darin, a Texas resident. The jury concluded that this money was intended as payment for the murder of his ex-wife.

Darin Starr’s attorneys, J. Carlton Taylor and Aimee Cobb Smith, expressed their disappointment with the verdict, stating that it was based on emotion and speculation rather than evidence. They also indicated that Darin Starr plans to pursue all legal avenues to overturn his conviction.

Cell phone records revealed that Darin Starr traveled from Texas to Coffee County, Alabama, just before Thanksgiving in 2017. He was in close proximity to his brother’s ex-wife’s home on several occasions. On November 27, 2017, around midnight, Darin Starr’s phone was switched off. Approximately seven hours later, he shot and killed his brother’s ex-wife in her driveway as she was leaving for work. His phone was turned back on around 8:00 a.m. as he was heading back to Texas on I-10.

The defense argued during the trial that investigators failed to find a murder weapon or an eyewitness to the crime. The Starr brothers were found guilty of racketeering murder and are expected to receive mandatory life sentences. The sentencing hearing for both men is scheduled for the coming months.