Spalding County saw its second suspected domestic violence-related homicide in as many weeks Friday morning with the death of 38-year-old Sara Starks, of 337 Norris Road, Barnesville.
The Griffin Police Department, in responding to a call at 7:28 a.m., discovered Starks in a vehicle in the parking lot of Express Personnel Services, 712 W. Taylor St., with her estranged husband, 42-year-old Herman Starks.
According to Cpl. Felita Morgan, public information officer for the GPD, Sara Starks had been picked up by her mother and 16-year-old daughter at her place of employment, Perkins Shibaura, following the completion of the third-shift.
Sara Starks, who had recently separated from her husband upon discovering he was involved in an extramarital affair with a co-worker, also was met in the parking lot of Perkins Shibaura Friday morning by her estranged husband. He allegedly approached her to discuss the possibility of a reconciliation. According to witnesses at the scene, Sara Starks said no.
Sara Starks, along with her mother and daughter, then drove to the offices of Express Personnel Services to pick up Starks’ paycheck.
Herman Starks allegedly followed his wife to this location, pulled alongside the automobile his wife was still seated in, and fired through the front passenger window with a 45-caliber automatic handgun.
Following the first shot fired, Sara Starks’ mother, who was driving the car, grabbed her granddaughter, who was seated in the rear of the vehicle, and the two ran inside the building to call the police.
Police say Herman Starks then exited his car, walked to the vehicle where his wife was already suffering from one gunshot wound, opened the front passenger door and fired another round, point blank, into his wife’s neck.
He then allegedly entered the vehicle and from the rear seat, proceeded to stab his wife repeatedly, at some point pulling Sara Starks over the front seat, into the back seat with him, where he continued his attack.
“This was an extremely violent domestic attack and no doubt, the prayers of the Griffin Police Department are with the family,” said Morgan. “I think that what makes this even more of a tragedy is that you have a 16-year-old see her mother killed by her father.”
When GPD officers arrived, Herman Starks was still in the back seat of the car with his wife.
Police say he threw his knife over the front seat and surrendered. At this time, Sara Starks, despite the brutality of the attack, was still alive. She begged them to please help her.
The GPD called Griffin Fire-Rescue and requested the establishment of a landing zone for a Lifeflight helicopter, but within minutes, the call was canceled due to the deterioration of Sara Starks condition.
Sara Starks was instead transported by ambulance to the emergency room of Spalding Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
“It’s one of the most viscous attacks on a human being I’ve seen since I’ve been in the coroner’s office,” said Spalding County Coroner Sonny Foster. “I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve seen a lot. He absolutely meant to kill her.”
Herman Starks is currently being held in the Spalding County Jail, charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and cruelty to children.
According to family members, Sara and Herman Starks had been together since the ages of 12 and 16, respectively, with no history of domestic violence before Friday.