Southington man sentenced in fatal stabbing of stepfather - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Southington man sentenced in fatal stabbing of stepfather

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WARREN, Ohio - A Southington man reached a deal with prosecutors before he was set to go on trial for the murder of his stepfather this spring.

Thomas Starr changed his plea in the fatal stabbing of Jeffery Westfall to guilty. 

A deadly attack the evening of June 22, forced Westfall's wife to the roadway near her home to call for help. A witness described Lisa Fry was covered in blood that night. Investigators soon found her husband dead on their porch.

Thomas Starr initially pleaded not guilty to murder charges, for fatal stabbing of his stepfather and wounding his mother, but Tuesday he changed his tune. Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan sentenced Starr to life in prison.

Starr's siblings shared their last words with their brother in open court and all described their disbelief and disappointment in their brother's actions.

"You were my brother and I loved you, my dad loved you and your mom loved you and you killed him, you killed my father," Megan Hunt says, Westfall's daughter.

Hunt says her father was a family man. She and her siblings still have questions about what motivated Starr's actions.

"He had his moments, but other than that, he was a very happy person," Michell Westfall says, Starr's brother. "He had his family, he had support, I just don't see why he did it."

Starr made a phone call to 911 after the crime in which he admitted stabbing his mother.

Trumbull County 911 dispatchers are hailed by the prosecution for keeping Starr on the line when he called following the  incident.

"He was talking and they were able to keep an open line with the recordings that involved him making admissions that he had done this and that's crucial in a case like this," Chris Becker says, Trumbull County assistant prosecutor.

While Starr will become eligible for parole in 30 years, Becker believes it's unlikely Starr will be let out. 
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