On a Monday morning in late November six years ago, an Alabama woman was leaving for work when she was shot dead in her driveway by her ex-husband’s brother, federal prosecutors said.
Now the brothers, Jason Starr, 50, of Coffee Springs, Alabama, and Darin Starr, 54, from Lakehills, Texas, are facing mandatory sentences of life in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.
Concerned co-workers of Sara Starr — a 38-year-old mother of four children and a fourth grade teacher at Harrand Creek Elementary School — found her body outside her home in Coffee County after she never made it to work Nov. 27, 2017, WTVY reported.
She was killed shortly after she and her ex-husband, Jason Starr, divorced, according to federal prosecutors who said a judge had “awarded a significant portion” of Jason Starr’s income to her.
In the weeks leading up to Sara Starr’s death, Jason Starr gave his brother, Darin Starr, a 2016 Triumph motorcycle and sent him $2,600 as payment in exchange for killing her, according to court documents and prosecutors.
On Sept. 20, a federal jury in Montgomery found the Starr brothers guilty in connection with their roles in the murder-for-hire conspiracy, the attorney’s office announced in a news release.
“The tragedy endured by the victim’s family is unthinkable,” U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart said in a statement. “I am grateful for the hard work of all the investigating agencies in this case. Their efforts resulted in bringing Jason and Darin Starr to justice.”
Jason Starr was arrested in December 2021 while Darin Starr was on the run before he was ultimately apprehended, McClatchy News previously reported.
McClatchy News contacted attorneys representing Jason and Darin Starr for comment on Sept. 22 and didn’t receive immediate responses.
Prosecutors detail motive behind Sara’s death
In court, prosecutors said after Jason and Sara Starr’s divorce, he was ordered to pay her over $3,000 each month for child support, WTVY reported.
This was the reason he had her killed, prosecutors said, according to WTVY.
Sara Starr was the mother of two sets of twins, AL.com reported.
They “were the loves of her life,” her obituary said. “She loved them more than anything else.”
Her profession, teaching, had always been her “dream,” and her students loved her, according to her obituary.
Darin Starr travels to kill Sara, feds say
After receiving the motorcycle and cash from Jason Starr, Darin Starr traveled from Texas to Coffee County before Thanksgiving in 2017 and fatally shot Sara Starr a few days later, prosecutors said.
Around midnight on Nov. 27, 2017, his phone was shut off for several hours — until he turned it back on while driving back to Texas after authorities said he fatally shot Sara Starr, according to prosecutors.
In court, prosecutors said the Starr brothers thought they carried out the “perfect crime” as Jason Starr’s alibi was that he was eating breakfast with other people when his ex-wife died, according WTVY.
“There is no such thing as a perfect crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Wendell said, the outlet reported.
After the federal jury’s conviction of the Starr brothers, a judge ordered them to be detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until their sentencing hearing, court records show.
That hearing will occur “in the coming months,” prosecutors said.
Coffee County is about 80 miles south of Montgomery.