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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: The couple had a history of violence and abuse
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 3, 2012
Date of arrest: 3 days after (turned herself)
Date of birth: 1984
Victim profile: Aaron C. Smith, 27 (her boyfriend)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Shoreline, King County, Washington, USA
Status: Sentenced to 14 years in prison on January 31, 2014

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Woman who stabbed boyfriend to death will spend 14 years in prison

By Amy Clancy -

January 31, 2014

Shoreline, Wash. — Doreen Starrish, the Shoreline woman who stabbed her long-time boyfriend to death, apologized on Friday before she was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

“I’ve been waiting 21 months to tell Aaron’s family, and my family, that I’m sorry,” the 28-year old Starrish said in King County Superior Court. Starrish claimed she never meant to kill 27-year old Aaron Smith in May 2012 when she stabbed him in the chest at the couple's Shoreline home, then ran with their two young daughters sparking an Amber Alert.

Senior King County Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom asked the judge for an 18-year sentence, citing Starrish's violent temper. “She has a history of losing control, getting extremely angry and acting out,” Carlstrom said. “In this case, she got a knife and she stabbed somebody.” But Starrish’s defense attorney, Robert Perez of Perez and Perez Law LLC, claimed his client was acting in self-defense. When Smith was killed, there was a standing order of protection to keep him away from Starrish because of an alleged assault, even though the two were apparently still living in the same home.

In court Friday, Perez asked the judge for an exceptional sentence because of multiple claims of abuse. He also reminded the judge of testimony from a witness during the trial late last year who “reported seeing Aaron Smith dragging Doreen by her hair through the streets, in front of his house.” Perez claimed, because of years of abuse, Starrish should only spend seven years behind bars.

However, those arguments did not convince jury members to acquit Starrish. She was convicted of second-degree murder on Dec. 6, 2013.

On Friday, Judge Yu sentenced Starrish to 14 years, calling the couple's relationship one of the most dysfunctional she had ever seen, because of the violence they used against each other.

Smith and Starrish’s young daughters will most likely be young adults by the time their mother is released, however Starrish will appeal her sentence. In court, Starrish talked about how much she misses her daughters Alice and Helen Smith, who are now 9 and 5 years old. “I know Aaron’s family misses him. I know my kids miss him, and there’s nothing I can do to bring him back. I wish I could,” she said.

Shoreline woman tearful as judge sentences her for murder

A Shoreline woman who sparked an Amber Alert after stabbing her boyfriend and fleeing with their young children was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison.

By Christine Clarridge - Seattle Times staff reporter

January 31, 2014

A Shoreline woman who fatally stabbed her longterm boyfriend and then fled with their two young daughters, triggering an Amber Alert, was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison.

Doreen Starrish, 29, apologized to her victim’s family and her own relatives at the sentencing hearing in King County Superior Court.

“I never meant for any of this to happen,” she said tearfully. “I’m really, really sorry.”

Starrish was convicted by a jury last month of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon and heroin possession in the slaying of Aaron C. Smith, 27.

According to court documents, sheriff’s deputies were called to the family’s home in the 1500 block of Northeast 190th Street on May 3, 2012. Friends who were at the home that night told investigators the couple had been arguing for several hours when Smith was stabbed.

After stabbing Smith, Starrish fled with the couple’s two daughters, who were 7 and 3 at the time, according to charging papers.

An Amber Alert was issued for the children. That night, Seattle police received a phone call from Smith’s brother, saying the children had been dropped off at their great-grandmother’s house.

Prosecutors said in the charging document, and in court on Friday, that the argument was sparked when Smith tried to prevent Starrish from leaving the house with the children because she was intoxicated and high on heroin.

Starrish’s attorney, Robert Perez, had argued at trial that Starrish was a battered woman acting in self-defense when she stabbed Smith. He asked Superior Court Judge Mary Yu for a sentence lower than the standard range of 14 to 22 years in prison.

The couple had a history of violence and abuse that included a misdemeanor assault charge against Smith and a domestic-violence-protection order barring him from contacting Starrish that was in effect at the time of the slaying.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said there was no question there was violence and abuse in the relationship, but said it was perpetrated by both parties.

Yu agreed the relationship was violent and said the couple had “one of the most dysfunctional families” she’d seen before the court.

Yu said she recognized that Starrish had endured difficulties in her life that “might explain some of the choices she made along the way, but it’s not an excuse.”

Woman accused of murdering ex-boyfriend pleads not guilty


May 15, 2012

SEATTLE -- A woman who prosecutors say fatally stabbed her ex-boyfriend before kidnapping his children pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Doreen Starrish, 28, cried as the second-degree murder charge was read in King County Superior Court.

Investigators say Starrish attacked Aaron Smith during an argument on May 3 at a home in Shoreline.

Smith, 27, was stabbed in the chest during the attack and later died at a Seattle hospital.

After the stabbing, Starrish allegedly drove off with their 7- and 3-year-old daughters. An Amber Alert was issued and the children were found safe a few hours later at a relative's house.

Starrish was on the run for several days but eventually turned herself in at the King County Jail on May 6.

Starrish and Smith had a troubled past, according to investigators. Court records show Smith had a history of assault, including an alleged attack on Starrish last August in which he's accused of hitting her legs while she slept on the couch.

Starrish also has an extensive police record, including arrests for drug offenses and assault.

She is being held on $1 million bail.

Woman wanted for abducting children turns herself in

By Staff

May 7, 2012

SHORELINE. Wash. - The shoreline woman accused of stabbing her ex-boyfriend and abducting the couple's two daughters has turned herself in.

The man deputies say Doreen Starrish stabbed, Aaron Smith, died over the weekend from his injuries. Starrish was booked into the King County Jail on first-degree assault charges.

The kids were at the home with their father when Starrish came over, said Sgt. Jesse Anderson with the King County Sheriff's Office. There was apparently an argument and the man was stabbed in the chest. Starrish then fled with the kids, Anderson said.

An Amber Alert was canceled for the children last Thursday when they were found safe at a relative's home.

Shoreline children found unharmed, Amber Alert canceled

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The daylong Amber Alert that was issued after a woman allegedly stabbed her ex-boyfriend and kidnapped the couple's two daughters has been called off.

The girls -- 7-year-old Helen Smith and 3-year-old Alice Smith -- were found unharmed Thursday night with a relative. Police say their mother, 28-year-old Doreen Starrish, was not with them and remains at large.

Starrish is suspected of stabbing the children's father around 8:30 a.m. in a home in the 1500 block of Northeast 190th Street in Shoreline, deputies said.

The kids were at the home with their father when Starrish came over, said Sgt. Jesse Anderson with the King County Sheriff's Office. There was apparently an argument and the man was stabbed in the chest. Starrish then fled with the kids, Anderson said.

They left the scene in a 2000 silver Lincoln Navigator, deputies said. Seattle police found the car a short time later at Northeast 125th Street and Lake City Way, but a man was driving the car and the children and their mother were not inside. That man is being questioned.

Anderson says the mother switched to a different getaway car a short time after the stabbing.

"She was dropped off at a nearby McDonalds where she got into a black Cadillac STS," he said. Police don't have any further details on the car.

The stabbing victim is at a local hospital in critical condition.

Deputies have Starrish's phone number and are trying to reach her, but have been unsuccessful. Starrish has several prior criminal convictions, including arrests for drugs and assault.

Amber Alert Issued for 2 missing King Co. girls

By Dan Thesman

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

An Amber Alert was issued this afternoon for two girls missing from Shoreline, Washington. The King County Sheriff's Office says the two girls, ages 3 and 7, are believed to be with their mother, 28-year-old Doreen Starrish.

The girls went missing after after an incident this morning in which Starrish is suspected of stabbing the girls' father, the sheriff's office said. The stabbing occurred in the 1500 block of Northeast 190th Street in Shoreline. The girls had been with their father at the time.

Starrish was believed to be driving a silver 2000 Lincoln Navigator. That vehicle was found in Seattle around 1:30 p.m. today. Neither Starrish nor the girls were found with the vehicle.



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