In a harrowing case, Starcher, a mother of two from Independence, met her tragic end through suffocation and a broken neck, as revealed during the trial reported by The St. Joseph News-Press.
Marcus Brooks was declared guilty on Thursday for the first-degree murder of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher, whose lifeless body was discovered in a duffel bag along a rural northwest Missouri road
The grim discovery was made in February 2020 by a Missouri Transportation Department worker, approximately 45 miles north of Kansas City. Marcus Brooks’ conviction hinged significantly on the testimony of Taylor Stoughton, who had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as Marcus Brooks’ accomplice. Both were apprehended a year after the heinous act.
Starcher’s grandfather, Jim Starcher, expressed concerns about her association with Marcus Brooks, emphasizing that she would occasionally seek rides from him. Despite efforts to change her life, Jim Starcher lamented the challenges she faced.
The defense argued that Stoughton was responsible for Starcher’s demise, contending that Marcus Brooks was in the shower at the time and only assisted in disposing of the body
Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Davidson countered this claim by pointing out Brooks’ DNA found beneath Starcher’s fingernails, suggesting a struggle. Stoughton and Marcus Brooks are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 20 and Dec. 21, respectively.