Dateline   |  July 12, 2013

'A Cold December Morning,' Part 12

Tensions run high between the two sides of Chanin Starbuck's family. In one corner, the victim's mom and siblings who think ex-husband clay is the murderer... In the other, the Starbuck kids who wholeheartedly believe their father is innocent.  What will the jury decide?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> narrator: for more than two weeks here in spokane, washington, the questions about the clay starbuck murder case sounded like political debates these days, polarized. and as the judge sent the jury off to deliberate.

>> you will now be escorted back to the jury deliberation room.

>> chanin's family on one side of a great divide.

>> i hope that they learn the truth.

>> narrator: and those very children on the other side, wanting nothing more than to have their father come home.

>> i hope after all this is done, i never see a courtroom again.

>> narrator: but of course, it was only those 12 strangers who could decide. and the hours went by and people close to the question on both sides were in some kind of agony.

>> i was sick to my stomach, i was nervous. knowing what i know and in my heart i know clay did this, all it takes is one person, one person not to believe and we have to start all over again.

>> narrator: not easy for any offense them, but especially hard for austin to cope with. he was now guardian of the three younger children. and until this moment he had been there for his siblings like a rock. funny how things sneak up on a person. if you could speak to your dad and say just one thing, what would it be?

>> see you soon.3 f2

>>> ?qu? habl? con su padre?.3 f2

>>> no puedo hablar, perd?n.

>> i haven't cried about it yet.

>> narrator: then they were all in court, their wishes on full display. the jury was back.

>> narrator: after one full day, they're here with their decision.

>> here the state of washington versus clay starbuck reads, we the jury find the defendant clay starbuck guilty of murder in the first-degree.

>> narrator: guilty, his face looked like stone. but something else going on inside said his lawyers.

>> how was he when that verdict happened?

>> shocked.

>> he actually thought he was going to be acquitted?

>> absolutely.

>> narrator: but chanin's mother and siblings felt vindicated. now the jury agreed.

>> as soon as that first guilty verdict was read. it was like a ton of bricks were lifted off of us.

>> and it was guilty. i jumped up and i screamed. i screamed. i was like, yes. yes.

>> how served these worlds were. austin starbuck , head of the household , weight of the world on his shoulders, came to see us to talk about the judge's decision not to admit certain evidence into trial. and about the future. his brother blake came along.

>> it's not over yet.

>> but he's convicted.

>> but there's still appeals. there's still other things we can do.

>> maybe so.

>> so it's still not over.

>> narrator: so parent and siblings satisfied with the result, children not at all and vowing to fight on. and chanin's friend summer, hard to know exactly how she was feeling.

>> i thought it would bring me more peace than it did. i was relieved that he was found guilty. but it didn't bring me the peace i thought it would.

>> narrator: justice, sometimes what feels like justice to some doesn't to others. not at all. but this we can say, once there was a fine and lovely woman whose life was good and useful. who loved her children.

>> they were her world. and no matter what had happened, what was said, what's been done, what's been drug up, that she loves them and she wants them to be successful and have good lives.

>> no, she did not deserve the way her life ended on that cold, december morning in deer park , washington.

>> that's all for this edition of "dateline" we'll be back again next friday at 9:00, 8:00 central, and i'll see you monday morning on "today." i'm lester holt . for all of us at nbc news,