Jury heads home for the day after hearing closing arguments

Brett Seacat

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KINGMAN, Kansas – The jury headed home for the day after attorneys presented their closing arguments in the trial of a former Kansas lawman accused of killing his wife and setting their house on fire to hide evidence.

Brett Seacat is charged with murder, arson and child endangerment in the April 2011 shooting death of his 34-year-old wife, Vashti, at their Kingman home. The defense has contended Vashti Seacat set the fire before committing suicide by shooting herself in the head.

Prosecutor Amy Hanley told the jury Monday that Vashti Seacat would not have put the couple’s two young sons at risk by setting a fire.

Hanley also said an autopsy indicated the woman was already dead when the fire was set and that the bullet’s trajectory showed she was shot from above, likely while sleeping.

Hanley says Brett Seacat used his expertise as a former deputy to try to cover up the crime.

“The defendant is controlling, he is manipulative and, you know what else he is?  He’s guilty. Find him guilty,” Hanley said.

The defense said in closing arguments Monday that there is reasonable doubt when even an experienced coroner can’t decide after reviewing police reports and other evidence.

Defense attorney Roger Falk recounted Vashti’s history of depression dating back to high school.

“The evidence in this case is not sufficient to raise itself beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Falk.

Jurors had the option of staying late and deliberating Monday evening, but they opted to go home and resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

KSN will continue to cover the trial. We’ll let you know when the jury reaches a verdict.

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