Man sentenced in stabbing death

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Southington man accused of stabbing his mother and stepfather pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Thomas Starr, 28, pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and felonious assault in connection to the June 22 stabbing death of Jeff Westfall, 51, at Westfall’s state Route 305 home. Investigators found Westfall dead with his throat slit.

Westfall’s wife and Starr’s mother, Linda Frye, 46, also was stabbed but survived the attack.

Starr called the Trumbull County 911 center and confessed the murder to an operator. Prosecutors said that call was a key piece of evidence that may have forced Starr to take a plea deal.

After the attacks, Starr was found by police in nearby woods. He told them he was lost and activated the GPS on his cell phone so officers could find him.

Starr is eligible for parole in 30 years, but prosecutors are confident he will not be released when that day comes.  Prosecutors still don’t know why Starr committed the crime.

“I still don’t know to this day what the motivation was and that is the sad part for the victims. They may not know the motive, and whatever the motive is it’s certainly not good enough to cause the death of an individual who by all appearances loved and cared for this defendant,” said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.

Family members spoke at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

“You were my brother and I loved you. And my dad loved you and your mom loved you and you killed him,” said Megan Hunt, Starr’s stepsister.

His stepsister Danielle Havlock said days before the murder, Westfall told her he wanted to help Starr, but she told her father to kick him out.

“He told me ‘he is one of my kids, I can’t do that to him.’ And because he loved you so much, he lost his life,” Havlock said. “He gave you everything and you took it all away from yourself and I want to see you live with that for the rest of your miserable life.”

Westfall’s daughters said their children have lost a grandfather they loved.

Mitchell Westfall, Starr’s half-brother, said he will always remember his dad as a good man who loved his kids.

“He was a family man. Loved to joke around, never showed any signs of aggression toward anybody, really. They had their fights, but nothing this serious,” hel said.

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