A sex-crime case is close to finally being resolved in Island County Superior Court after a series of delays over the last two years.
Oak Harbor resident Jed I. Starr pleaded by way of an Alford’s plea Thursday to one count of incest in the first degree.
Under an Alford’s plea, Starr doesn’t admit his guilt but recognizes that he would be convicted in a jury trial.
Under a plea bargain, both the prosecution and the defense will recommend that the judge sentence Starr to 14 months in prison, which is the top of the standard sentencing range.
The sentencing hearing was set over in order to give the Department of Corrections the chance to complete a pre-sentence investigation, which is required for felony sex crimes.
Starr impregnated his daughter, who gave birth in 2014.
The woman was described in court papers as being vulnerable. She was 21 years old when she asked police for help in 2016; she claimed Starr continued to coerce her into having sex, the police report states.
DNA tests showed that the probability that Starr is the woman’s father is 99.9 percent. The probability that Jed Starr is the child’s father is 99.99998 percent, the report states.
Starr’s delay in getting an attorney and other actions caused the trial to be rescheduled over and over again.
Starr’s first attorney negotiated a plea bargain with the prosecution early this year, but Starr changed his mind at the hearing at which he was scheduled to plead guilty. His first attorney obtained permission to withdraw, explaining that his client was insisting on taking action that he fundamentally disagreed with.
Starr is now facing a significantly longer sentence than if he had agreed with earlier plea offers.