We are standing by for the start of the Brett Seacat preliminary hearing in Kingman County. The former Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy is charged with killing his wife, Vashti, in April, and setting fire to their home with the couple's two children inside. Court records show Vashti Seacat had filed for divorce about two weeks earlier. The couple's two young boys are now living with relatives.
Brett Seacat has just entered the courtroom and taken his seat. The gallery is full, with friends and family members of Brett and Vashti Seacat in attendance.
Hearing is underway. Judge is now covering some of the unresolved issues from the previous hearing.
First witness called by the state is Sgt. Travis Sowers, Kingman Police Dept.
Sowers: I responded to a call of a fire and possible shooting at the Seacat residence in the early morning hours of April 30th, 2011.
Sowers: Brett Seacat did not appear to be injured after the fire.
Sowers: Seacat said his wife was dead and that she had shot herself in the head.
Sowers: Seacat put the children and dog in a truck and left the scene. He agreed to go to the Kingman law enforcement center.
Sowers now reviewing photos of the scene.
Defense attorney Roger Falk is now questioning Sgt. Sowers.
Sowers: I did not go into the home until two days after the fire; after Vashti Seacat's body had been removed.
Sowers: I don't recall seeing any blood or blood spatter on Seacat.
State calls next witness, Mark Holloway, Kingman Police Chief.
Holloway: Kingman Co. dispatch called me at home to notify me about the fire. I went to the law enforcement center to speak with Seacat about the fire and the events of the night.
Holloway: Seacat had a bandage on his left foot to protect minor burns.
Holloway: Seacat made some phone calls prior to the interview. He called a relative in Oklahoma City and then called Vashti's mother. I heard Brett state (on phone to Vashti's mother) more than once that he had not killed Vashti.
Holloway: Seacat told him he was surprised Vashti's mother had accused him of killing her.
Holloway: Seacat said he was downstairs when he heard a pop and then a loud bang which he described as all the doors in the house slamming at once. Seacat said he went upstairs and when he got to the top of the stairs there was fire.
Holloway: Seacat said he entered the master bedroom and could see fire on the bed and stepped in fire. He said Vashti was on bed lying flat on her back. He went over to Vashti and tried to lift her up. She was limp and had blood around her mouth. He then went into their sons bedroom, picked up both boys and carried them out of the house.
Holloway: Seacat said he did not see any firearms inside the bedroom with Vashti. Seacat said Vashti had filed for divorce. Seacat said he had convinced, or "bullied" Vashti to let him stay in the house for three months by threatening to take the kids to Mexico and she would never see them again.
Holloway: Seacat had no burns on his arms or face. No soot or ash on skin. No evidence of Seacat having touched blood.
Holloway: Seacat was very calm, very collected. I never saw him express any type of emotion that would indicate to me he had just lost his wife. He didn't cry at all.
Falk is now cross examining Holloway
Holloway: I was aware Seacat was a Sedgwick County deputy and was an employee of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
Falk is asking Holloway about blood spatter and whether he would expect there to be some blood on Seacat if he had shot his wife.
Judge has called for a short break. Holloway will continue his testimony when court resumes.
Holloway: Seacat said he got a call from Vashti telling him to come upstairs so the boys don't get hurt.
Holloway: Asked Seacat if there were firearms kept in the master bedroom. He said there were two.
Holloway: Asked Seacat if Vashti had ever thought about suicide. Seacat said she had battled depression and once asked if .44 Magnum would be a good gun to use for suicide.
Assistant Attorney General Travis Harrod is now conducting a re-direct with Holloway.
Holloway on re-cross: I don't know if Seacat's hands were tested for gun shot residue.
Holloway's testimony is over. Judge is taking lunch recess. Will reconvene at 1:00 p.m. See you then.
Back from lunch. Two witnesses down, 16 more to go.
State's next witness is Jerry Devine, Maintenance Supervisor at Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
Devine: Spoke to Seacat about 4pm on April 29th. Seacat said he was going to get some different computers and wanted to burn his hard drives to keep people from knowing his finances. We put hard drives in the vise and Brett torched the hard drives and melted them.
Devine later collected the melted hard drives from the trash.
Devine on cross examination: Did not think the request to burn the hard drives was out of the ordinary.
Devine has been excused as a witness.
Next witness is John Green, Associate Director, Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
Green: Got a call from KBI May 1, 2011, the day after Vashti's death, and was asked to lock-up Brett Seacat's office. Devine told him about Seacat destroying the hard drives on the 29th. They decided to find the melted hard drives and turn them over to KBI.
Green: Seacat came by later to pick up coat and tie. Seacat wanted to tell the KLETC director and associate director what had happened to Vashti. Secat said he and Vashti had a fight about terms of the divorce and said he backed her into a corner by threatening to take away the boys so she would neer see them again.
Green: Seacat said he went over to his wife on the bed and said she was "dead limp" and noticed a large amount of blood on the left side of her head and the mattress.
Green: Not aware of Seacat having permission to take home ammunition from the KLETC vault for personal use.
Falk is now questioning Green