Appeals court rejects murder conviction

SPOKANE, Wash. – A state appeals court has thrown out the murder conviction of a Spokane woman who claimed she killed her husband in self defense after years of forced prostitution.

The court ordered a new trial for Shellye L. Stark, who is serving a 51-year sentence for the 2007 shooting death of Dale R. Stark in Spokane. The judges found fault with the trial court’s jury instructions and other legal technicalities.

A Spokane County jury convicted the 48-year-old woman of first-degree murder in March 2009, following a trial in which Stark told sordid stories of forced prostitution and other abuse at the hands of her husband.