Thomas J. Starr indicted in Saturday night murder in Southington

By Ed Runyan


A Trumbull County grand jury on Monday indicted Thomas J. Starr, 28, less than two days after he was accused of stabbing the man he called his stepfather, and of attempting to kill his mother.

Starr will be arraigned this morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in the death of Jeffrey L. Westfall, 53, and wounding of Lisa M. Frye, 46, also known as Lisa M. Starr, at their Southington Township home.

Thomas Starr, charged with murder, attempted murder and felonious assault, lived with his mother and Westfall, but the couple was trying to get him to move out over the past four months, said Maj. Thomas Stewart of the county sheriff’s office.

Starr also had an address at 4457 Greenville Road in West Farmington.

Police say Starr stabbed Westfall and Frye each one time in the neck about 10 p.m. Saturday. Westfall was found on the porch of their home at 5435 state Route 305 in Southington, about a mile west of U.S. Route 422.

Frye lost a lot of blood but was able to make it to the roadway near the house, where she flagged down a passer-by who called 911. She was flown to Cleveland Metro Hospital by helicopter, where she’s in satisfactory condition.

Stewart said he was able to briefly interview Frye at the hospital. She said her son had a bad temper. She and Westfall were not married, but have another son together who is about 18, Stewart said.

County coroner Dr. Humphrey Germankiuk ruled Westfall’s death a homicide, with the cause pending further investigation.

Starr called 911 from a cellphone shortly after his mother was found in the roadway.

He told a dispatcher at 10:14 p.m. that he “just attempted to kill my mother and stepfather.”

Starr said he was deep in the woods behind the house, but would try to help police locate him. Police were attempting to locate him by using the GPS technology in Starr’s phone.

“I think I stabbed my stepdad in the throat with a knife,” he told the dispatcher.

When the dispatcher asked Starr if anything happened to his mother, he replied, “Maybe.” Starr then asked if his mom was OK.

When the dispatcher asked Starr if he could do anything to help him, Starr said, “You can’t do anything for me. I called to help you.”

The dispatcher asked Starr whether Westfall had done anything to provoke him, and Starr said no. The dispatcher asked Starr why the incident happened, and Starr said, “Because he [Westfall] is a bad man.”

At one point in the conversation, Starr begins to criticize the 911 operator, saying, “You don’t listen very well.” Starr then adds, “I’m trying to help you. You’re not helping me at all, because I’m the one that committed the crime. So I’m actually helping you by telling you where I am.”

The dispatcher kept Starr on the phone a long time, with Starr attempting to help police locate him by yelling out periodically.

Police from several departments eventually located Starr in the woods and took him into custody.

A search of county records for Starr shows only one previous run-in with the law, in 2002, when Starr was 18. He was convicted of misdemeanor criminal damaging for throwing another young man’s bicycle into a fire in West Farmington, where he lived. He was placed on probation and ordered to pay $150 restitution.

If convicted of the charges, Starr could get 15 years to life in prison. Judge Andrew Logan will preside over the arraignment.

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