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Judge Allows Suspect's Statements To Be Used In Murder Trial

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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UPDATE: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A former Kansas law officer accused of murdering his wife lost another legal battle in Kingman County District Court Wednesday.

Brett Seacat is charged with first-degree murder in connection to Vashti Forrest-Seacat's death in April of 2011. He is also facing charges of aggravated arson and two counts of endangering a child.

A judge determined that Brett Seacat's statements to law enforcement after Vashti’s death will be allowed at his upcoming murder trial. His defense claimed the statements are incriminating and that Seacat did not know what he said could be used against him.

Prosecutors disagreed with the defense’s claims, considering Seacat’s training in law enforcement not only himself, but with his entire family of law officers.

“He clearly understands the circumstances and discusses those and understands what's going on when he's interviewed,” said Amy Hanley, Kansas Attorney General's Office.

Seacat spoke to officers four times voluntarily before his arrest. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 3. He's being held in the Kingman County Jail on $1-million bond.

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A second day of hearings continues in Kingman County District Court in the case of a former Kansas law man accused of murdering his wife.

Brett Seacat is charged with first degree murder in connection to Vashti Forrest Seacat's death. He is also facing charges of aggravated arson, and two counts of endangering a child.

His defense attorneys are trying to prevent incriminating statements he made from being admitted as evidence at trial. After Vashti Forrest-Seacat died, her husband made phone calls to his friends and family that were overheard by police officers. He was also interviewed by officers while not under arrest.

The prosecution argues he made all of the statements voluntarily and was never detained.

The trial is now scheduled for Dec. 3.

KAKE's Jared Cerullo is in the courtroom. Follow him on Twitter @KAKEJared for updates.

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A former Kansas sheriff deputy and law enforcement instructor was successful in getting his trial delayed Tuesday, but that's about all. At a motions hearing, Brett Seacat was denied just about everything he asked for by Judge Larry Solomon.

First, Seacat moved to allow his wife's mental health records into evidence at trial. Defense Attorney Roger Falk argued that the records should be considered evidence because they claim Vashti Forrest-Seacat attempted to commit suicide four times before she was killed.

But after the hearing, Vashti Forrest-Seacat's family called that claim "ludicrous."

"They are simply grasping at straws," said Rich Forrest, Vashti's brother. "We all go through good times and bad times. I know, for instance, I went through a bad time when I found out my sister had been killed. Sometimes people cause those bad times in our lives and, ironically, the same individual who has caused some bad times in my life may have been the same person who caused some bad times in her life."

"If there is a conviction," Forrest said Tuesday, "we would like to see him convicted on the merits of his actions rather than allegations and accusations and a world of fantasy."

Judge Larry Solomon also denied Seacat's request to admit the personnel files of law enforcement officers expected to testify. The defense had requested them because they said they wanted to quash any possibility of a law officer's trust being discredited for false statements in the past.

And lastly, Seacat asked for statements from the couple's marriage counselor not be allowed at trial. During his preliminary hearing earlier this year, the counselor testified that Brett Seacat called her after the killing and said, "I did it. I killed Vashti and it's all my fault."

Defense attorney Roger Falk said the statement was taken out of context and was not an admission of guilt. The state argued that the jury should hear the testimony and make a decision on their own. Judge Solomon agreed and said he would allow the counselor's testimony.

The trial date was pushed back to Dec. 3 due to the defense's claim that their private investigator recently took another full time job and could not devote his attention to the case. Therefore, they said they were in the process of finding a new one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A motion hearing is expected to begin Tuesday for a former law enforcement instructor charged with killing his wife

Brett Seacat is charged with first degree murder in connection to Vashti Forrest Seacat's death. He is also facing charges of aggravated arson, and two counts of endangering a child.

Prosecutors allege Seacat shot his wife, Vashti Forrest Seacat, and then set their Kingman house on fire in April of 2011. Brett Seacat and his two young sons escaped the fire.

Seacat has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorneys have said Vashti set the house on fire and then took her own life.

His trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 3.

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