Prosecutors have filed an upgraded murder charge against a Vancouver man accused of fatally stabbing his estranged wife in November 2021.
Michael Murrah, 47, pleaded not guilty March 24 to aggravated first-degree murder in Clark County Superior Court. If convicted, he would receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was previously charged with first-degree murder.
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.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Lauren Boyd declined to comment on the charging decision Tuesday, citing the Washington State Court Rules of Professional Conduct for trial publicity and prosecutor responsibilities.
A motion filed Jan. 25 states that prosecutors further reviewed the evidence in the case and that it supports the new charge.
Michael Murrah’s bail remains at $2 million, and his trial is set for Sept. 11, court records show.
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 their 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 to undergo a competency evaluation. Court records show evaluators determined he’s able to understand his charges and assist in his defense. His prior defense attorney filed a notice that Michael Murrah intended to assert a diminished capacity or insanity defense.
Michael Murrah’s next court date is April 28, which is the deadline for him to enter a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, Boyd said.