Springfield teen sentenced in brother’s brutal death: 3 things to know

The Springfield teenager who was only 16 when prosecutors said he beat and stabbed his brother to death in 2016 has pleaded guilty to murder and been sentenced to 15 year to life in prison, according to court documents.

Here’s three things you should know about the case.

» READ MORE: Springfield teen guilty of killing brother

1. Crime scene called a “horror movie”

Nicholas Starling was accused of beating his brother, Harley Starling, with a baseball bat and then stabbing him in the throat in October 2016. According to court documents, Starling went into his brother’s room while he slept, then allegedly hit him in the head with the bat 14 to 15 times before stabbing him in the throat to stop the “noise” his brother was making after the beating.

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Springfield Police Division Detective Ron Jordan testified in an earlier court hearing that Nicholas Starling admitted he and his brother had been in an argument over Halloween candy.

Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said the slaying resembled something of a horror movie and is the worst child-on-child crime he has ever prosecuted.

2. Killing could have been caused by several factors

The older brother’s tough upbringing might have played a role, Wilson said. He said the teen’s father was murdered two years before and his mother was in and out of the boys’ lives.

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Another possible reason was the teen’s interest, Wilson said.

“He seemed to be researching the occult, the Insane Clown Posse,” he said. “He was very into some satanic worship and that kind of stuff. We were never able to prove a direct link between why he did what he did and his interests, but it piles on for how disturbed this kid is.”

3. Ruled competent to stand trial

Starling underwent a mental evaluation and was found competent to stand trial in October 2017.

» MORE COVERAGE: Springfield teen accused of killing brother competent to stand trial

Wilson said despite Starling’s background, it doesn’t excuse him from the consequences of the murder and he wasn’t criminally insane at the time it was committed. He said Starling took steps to cover up what he did, including hiding the bat and knife and trying to make it look like a suicide.

“Anyone who could do something like this is ill,” he said. “You have to be a sick person to do what he did but that doesn’t mean you are criminally insane. It is very clear from the evidence that when he murdered his brother he was certainly able to appreciate the wrongness of his actions.”

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