CANFIELD Starr pleads innocent to phone harassment
The owner of B & amp;R Wholesale Tire said he is not capable of making the threats.
CANFIELD -- A Canfield man says he has tape recordings of death threats he has received from his father, a well-known local businessman.
R.J. Starr said both he and his mother, Beverly, are threatened on the tapes by Ray Starr Sr., 57, of Fountain Valley Court. Ray Starr pleaded innocent to charges of telephone harassment and menacing Wednesday in Mahoning County Court in Canfield.
A date for a pretrial hearing has not been set.
Ray Starr, owner of B & amp;R Wholesale Tire and Wheel on South Meridian Road, Austintown, is known for television commercials in which he says he will buy his customers a meal if his competitors have lower prices.
He was arrested earlier this month after R.J. told county deputy sheriffs about the threats.
Response: Ray, meanwhile, denies making the threats. He said he is not a violent person and he loves his family.
"Anybody that knows Ray Starr knows I'm not capable of any of that," he said. "I would never threaten my children.
"I still love all of them ... but I don't love what they did to me."
Ray said he thinks the harassment allegation was created to help his wife in their divorce proceedings. Ray's wife filed for divorce in November; they were married in 1963.
Theft accusation: In December, Ray filed a police report in Austintown stating that his wife, R.J. and another of his sons were responsible for stealing from B & amp;R Wholesale Tire. Both sons served as presidents there at the time. He also has a third son who still works at the business.
R.J. and his brother were later told to leave the company.
R.J. said the investigation into his father's allegations was dropped. He stressed that "this has nothing to do with divorce. This has everything to do with me protecting my family."