Linda Starmer, a Michigan woman accused of setting fire to her parents’ home and killing her husband, said for the first time in an interview with a “48-hour” correspondent., In Broadcast on CBS on Saturday, November 21st, 9 / 8c.
On January 7, 2007, Linda Starmer screamed chillingly when her husband Todd ran upstairs and found the living room in flames in the basement of his family’s house. He said he was doing the laundry. Linda says Todd was in the middle of the room trying to fight the fire. Unable to reach him, she says she ran away from the burning house without shoes, a jacket and a cell phone.
In a “48-hour” interview, Erin Moriarty asked Linda Starmer, “Did you ever think of calling 911?” “That wasn’t my first idea,” Linda replied. “My first idea was to go out. Todd is going out … as long as he knows I’m out … he’s going out.”
Starmer’s house was located in the countryside on the outskirts of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a large site was fenced with an electric fence to keep the couple’s 31 horses safe. Linda says that without a cell phone, the only way to get help that day was to jump into her husband’s van, which always has a key in it, and drive to the nearest neighbor. But just as she tried to take off in the van, Linda says she saw her husband Todd escape from the burning house and get out of the van to help him. “He’s flying around and stroking himself. His skin is terribly burnt … I’m screaming at him, riding a van … and he’s not riding a van … I touch him I can’t … and yes, I’m back in the van … and I lost sight of him. ”
According to the weather forecast for the day, it was raining and snowing in the area. Linda says it was difficult to move the van because their driveway was so wet and muddy. “I couldn’t get traction because the tires were just spinning,” she says, but what happened next is something she can’t explain yet. “You knew you had overrun your husband,” Erin Moriarty asked. “No,” says Linda Starmer. Investigators later found Todd’s blood on the front bumper and undercarriage of the van. Linda hit her husband with her van.
An ambulance tried to save Todd Starmer, who died on the scene from a burn. Sheriff Van Buren County has investigated the fire and Todd’s death for more than two years. Then, on June 5, 2009, the public prosecutor’s office felt that there was sufficient evidence to arrest Linda Starmer and prosecute her for arson and the murder of her husband. Linda claims she is innocent, but the couple’s sons say they have come to feel their mother guilty.
“What do you think happened?” Moriarty asked 28-year-old Trevor Starmer.
“Our mother killed our father,” he replied. “She set the house on fire, soaked him in petrol, and after he was able to get out of the house, she turned him over in a van.”
The evidence presented at the trial was primarily contextual. In particular, a gas station clerk testified that he saw Linda pumping gas into a gas can behind an SUV on the morning of the fire. Her sons testified that when Linda returned home from the gas station, she gave them money to wake them up and go to the movies. A former best friend testified that Linda wanted to turn Todd over and kill him, accusing Linda of having a relationship with a colleague.
Linda’s defense countered with testimony from a previous friend’s brother who told the jury that his sister had a history of mental illness and was unreliable. Regarding pumping gas into the can that morning, Linda said it was cold and she went behind her SUV to get gloves to pump gas into her car. There is nothing more. She also argues that the reason she sent her son to the movie that day was because she and Todd were in the midst of intense debate. She was planning to leave Todd that day, Linda says, and didn’t want her son to see it.
On January 13, 2010, the jury found Linda Stermer guilty. A month later, Linda was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, but after nearly nine years in prison, she was freed again, at least temporarily.
Erin Moriarty and I first met Linda Starmer and her new attorney, Wolfgang Muller, at the 2019 Innocence Network Conference. A federal judge overturned Linda’s conviction in December 2018 and released her. Judge Arthur J. Turnow declared that Linda had not been tried fairly and said she had found the prosecution’s illegal activity and the ineffective support of the attorney.
Michigan soon reinstated Linda’s conviction and appealed to bring her back to prison. The prosecution has declared that she will try again if she loses.
On May 15, 2020, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Linda Stermer and upheld the decision to overturn Judge Tarnow’s conviction. The Van Buren County Public Prosecutor’s Office then resubmitted the murder charges against Starmer. Her new trial is scheduled to begin on March 9, 2021.
As the family splits, Linda’s sons testify to her and say she vows to never talk to her again. Their half-sisters — Linda’s daughters from a previous marriage, Ashley and Brittany — say they believe their mother is innocent and wish her to remain free.
Judy Rybak is the producer of “48 Hours” | @JudyRybak
Michigan man Todd Starmer escapes from a burning house and causes his wife Linda Starmer to overrun him
Source link Michigan man Todd Starmer escapes from a burning house and causes his wife Linda Starmer to overrun him