WARREN - A 28-year-old West Farmington man faces more serious murder charges after a Trumbull County grand jury Tuesday named him in a superceding indictment for aggravated murder.
Thomas Starr, who confessed to a police dispatcher while he was wandering in some woods shortly after two June 22 stabbings, is already being held in lieu of $1 million bond after pleading not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and felonious assault.
Conviction on the murder charge could have meant a prison sentence of 15 years to life. If convicted on the new charges, Starr could face 20, 25 or 30 years to life in prison or life without parole.
Starr, of Greenville Road, was arrested in connection with the stabbing death of Jeffrey Westfall, 53, of Southington. Investigators found Westfall dead near the front porch of his home on Route 305 with his throat slit.
Starr's mother, Lisa Frye, 46, also was found stabbed, but alive, on the road on Route 305, three-quarters of a mile west of U.S. Route 422. Frye lived in home with Westfall. She was flown by helicopter to a Cleveland hospital.
Starr was initially charged with the felony murder, but after hearing additional evidence, the grand jury determined that Westfall's death was premeditated and increased Starr's charges to aggravated murder, which call for prior calculation and design in the killing.
On the night of the killing, a man identifying himself as Starr called the Trumbull County 911 Dispatch Center at 10:14 p.m. and told the operator that he tried to kill his stepfather, Jeff, and his mother, Lisa, with a knife.
He told dispatchers he ran into woods behind the home before making the call.
Dispatchers worked on talking him out of the woods in a series of phone calls over the next 75 minutes. Starr became lost for a while while cruisers honked and a helicopter lit up the night to lead the way. Starr finally found his way out of the woods, while police used dogs and searchlights to help find him.
The case is assigned to Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.