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UPDATE | Trial moved for accused Kanawha County murderer

(WSAZ)
Published: Aug. 23, 2016 at 10:55 AM EDT
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UPDATE 10/18/19 @ 8:30 p.m.

The trial date has been moved for an accused murderer in Kanawha County.

On Friday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman moved the trial date for Arthur Owen Woods, 40, of Mt. Nebo, to January 23 at 9 a.m. with the final pretrial being January 17 at 10:30 a.m.

Woods pleaded not guilty in May in the March 2016 death of his wife, Starina Woods, who went missing that month in Charleston.

Kanawha County Defense Attorney David Ford cited Friday that the defense needs more time to collect information from the 3-year old case. Ford said being that Woods was just indicated in May, they’ve only had a few months on the extensive case.

“We’ve been to Nicholas County where a lot of this has occurred, two or three times,” Ford said. “We just need more time to gather this information from the state, get it to our experts and for us to analyze and interview these witnesses to line up.”

Investigators in the case previously said that Starina Woods voiced concerns about being in an abusive relationship. Her body was never found.

Woods never reported his wife missing, telling authorities she had left for Ecuador. They had been living together in Charleston at the time.

The trial has been moved several times.

UPDATE 10/1/19 @ 3:00 p.m.

A Kanawha County circuit judge ruled Tuesday prosecutors can use blood evidence in an upcoming murder trial.

Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman rejected a motion to suppress a search warrant from Charleston police that found bloodstains at the Charleston home of Arthur and Starina Woods.

Arthur Woods, who now lives in Nicholas County, was arrested earlier this year and charged with his wife’s 2016 death. Starina Woods hasn’t been seen since March 10, 2016. Her body has not been found.

Woods is scheduled to go on trial beginning Oct. 29. Another pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 18. He is being held at South Central Regional Jail.

Woods never reported his wife missing, telling authorities she left for Ecuador. He was charged last year with using debit card until the bank froze the account.

UPDATE 5/22/19 @ 5:20 p.m.

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of his wife who has been missing for more than three years, Charleston Police said Wednesday.

Arthur Owen Woods, 40, of Mt. Nebo, West Virginia, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Starina Woods.

Arthur Woods was arrested in Nicholas County, West Virginia, according to Charleston Police.

He will be arraigned Thursday morning in Nicholas County Magistrate Court. He is in custody at the Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods awaiting his arraignment.

Starina "Star" Woods, 34, of Charleston, was last seen alive on March 10, 2016. According to a search warrant filed Oct. 5, her husband told police he believes Starina had run off to Ecuador. It turns out, though, that she didn't even have a U.S. passport.

Last year, Arthur Woods was arrested after investigators say he used his late wife's debit card until the bank froze the account.

We will have more on this developing story. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.


UPDATE 10/14/16 @ 12:30 a.m.

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Seven months removed from when she went missing, Starina Woods' loved ones are banding together to raise awareness of her disappearance.

Thursday, family and friends gathered at the Nicholas County Courthouse to ask for help finding the woman they all call "Star."

Woods' loved ones came together for what they described as a hybrid vigil and rally. Folks at the event mourned Woods' disappearance, while simultaneously pleading that anyone with information as to her location come forward.

"We know there's people out there that know information about her, like, where she possibly is," Woods' cousin, Amanda Hardbarger said. "We wanna know where she is and hopefully...people will talk."

Charleston Police have been investigating Woods' disappearance since March and originally classified it as a missing persons case. But, as of last week, police say they have reason to believe the circumstances surrounding the disappearance are suspicious and are asking for anyone with information to come forward.

At over 200 days without a word from Woods, family members understand the outlook is grim. But, while they say they aren't giving up on the possibility of her being alive and well, loved ones are praying for closure one way or another.

"I want my baby home, either way," Woods' mother, Joann Arrington said, through tears, during her speech at the vigil, "If any of you know anything, seen or heard anything, just let us know because I'm dying more and more inside because I don't know where my baby is at."

"I seen my family here today crying, and it's hard for all of us," Woods' brother, Ronald Lucas said. "If anybody knows anything please contact investigators. Help us, that's all we ask."

Police have not yet named a suspect in this case.


UPDATE 10/6/16 @ 4:50 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – New details have been released after search warrants were just filed about a missing woman in Charleston that police consider suspicious.

Starina "Star" Woods, 34, was last seen alive on March 10, 2016.

According to a search warrant filed October 5, her husband told police he believes Starina ran off to Ecuador.

Detectives spoke with a federal agent with Homeland Security who reported that Starina does not have a US passport and never had a documented border crossing, according to the warrant.

The search warrant also includes details about several transactions on Starina's debit card that were made after March 10.

The transactions are dated between March 18 and March 24. There's a transaction for a payment to a pre-pay cell phone company, that was made after March 10.

On June 8, detectives executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on Lance Drive. According to detectives, a significant amount of blood was found on the front door, stairs and living room area of the home.

The search warrant also says on August 17, a detective recovered personal Facebook messages from a man to Starina Woods.

According to the message, Starina specifically mentions Ecuador for her destination and her intentions of having this man come with her.

The documents state that detectives interviewed this man. He told them he never met with Starina and that he lost communication with her after March.

Charleston Police say Woods and her husband had recently moved to Charleston from Mt. Lookout, West Virginia.

Lieutenant Steve Cooper tells WSAZ that they consider her disappearance to be suspicious.

"We do consider it to be suspicious. We have reached out to friends and family to ask if anyone may have information they think may be important or anyone who may have known her family or anyone in her life,” said Lt. Cooper.

He would not comment on whether or not there were any suspects at this time.

If you have any information about the disappearance of Starina Woods, you're asked to call Charleston Police.


UPDATE 8/23/16 @ 7:10 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman has been missing since early March, and Charleston Police are asking for the public's help in the case.

Starina “Star” Woods, 34, was last seen and known to be alive on or about March 10, 2016, in Charleston, officers say. They say her disappearance is considered suspicious.

"We believe there are people who may have information that they aren't even aware is important," said Lieutenant Steve Cooper. "We're just asking them to see this and to know now that we are ready to publicly say that we consider this to be a very suspicious missing person's case."

Charleston Police also say Woods and her husband, Owen Woods, recently had moved to Charleston from Mt. Lookout, West Virginia, which is just outside of Summersville.

Ronald Lucas, Star's brother, tells WSAZ he believes there are people who need to come forward.

"There is people out there that knows more than what they're saying but I just believe that they don't want to get involved," said Lucas. "I can't blame them, but it's a family member and my sister and a mother of two and everybody would like to know if she's OK, if something happened."

Lucas says Star has two adult children and is a kind-hearted person. He said he couldn't ask for a better sister and wants to see her come home.

"She always smiled, she was happy," said Lucas. "She'd do anything for anybody."

He says he spends every day thinking about how she might be doing and what might have happened to her. Although he is starting to fear the worst, Lucas is still hoping for answers. He says the family would like to put this investigation to rest and achieve closure.

"Deep down inside, yes, I feel something very bad happened to my sister," said Lucas. "It's been terrifying."

If you have any information about Starina Woods, you're asked to call Charleston Police or your local 911 agency.


ORIGINAL STORY 8/23/16

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman has been missing since early March, and Charleston Police are asking for the public's help in the case.

Starina “Star” Woods, 34, was last seen and known to be alive on or about March 10, 2016, in Charleston, officers say. They say her disappearance is considered suspicious.

Charleston Police also say Woods and her husband, Owen Woods, recently had moved to Charleston from Mt. Lookout, West Virginia, which is just outside of Summersville.

If you have any information about Starina Woods, you're asked to call Charleston Police or your local 911 agency.