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Saturday, September 23, 2023
Sept. 23, 2023

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Man accused in estranged wife Star Murrah’s death pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

Vancouver woman was fatally stabbed in November 2021

By , Columbian staff reporter

A Vancouver man accused in the November 2021 fatal stabbing of his estranged wife entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea Friday in Clark County Superior Court.

Prosecutors upgraded the charge against Michael Murrah, 47, last month to aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, if he’s convicted. Murrah previously pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Judge Suzan Clark set a deadline of July 11 for Murrah’s defense attorney to have his mental state evaluated. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 11.

The charging information alleges that prior to Murrah fatally stabbing Monica “Star” Murrah on Nov. 7, 2021, there was a pattern of multiple incidents of him assaulting or harassing her, regardless of a conviction.

The Columbian previously reported that Star Murrah, 45, called police multiple times over incidents in which she said her husband assaulted her. She had also filed for a domestic violence protection order against Michael Murrah and, on the application, expressed she feared for her and their 8-year-old son’s safety.

Vancouver police responded to the couple’s home on multiple occasions, but officers never found probable cause that an assault had occurred. A Superior Court commissioner later denied Star Murrah’s petition for a full protection order, according to court records.

On the day of the attack, Vancouver police responded at about 10:30 a.m. to the 2400 block of F Street in the Arnada neighborhood after a neighbor called 911 to report Star Murrah had been stabbed. Police found Michael Murrah outside the house with what appeared to be blood on his hands and a knife, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Star Murrah was found inside with multiple stab wounds to her upper torso, the affidavit states. She was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center where she died from her injuries.

Michael Murrah allegedly told police he stabbed someone called Star Beast “to fulfill a prophecy.” In another police interview, officers said he admitted to driving to Star Murrah’s house with a knife and a Bible, court records say.

In December, a judge ordered Michael Murrah undergo a competency evaluation. Court records show evaluators determined he’s able to understand his charges and assist in his defense.