Interrogation video played during Vonachen trial

Sam Vonachen (KSN File Photo)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Seventeen-year-old Sam Vonachen stared straight ahead as the jury heard his words following the fatal fire that killed his mother and sister.

Vonachen was interviewed by police following the 2013 fire, allegedly set by the then 14-year-old.

In addition, a doctor took the stand to testify about Vonachen’s mental competency.

DETECTIVE: “You want me to tell them you’re sorry?”


DETECTIVE: “You’re not sorry for what you did?”

In the video, Vonachen speaks about the name he initially gave to 9-1-1 dispatchers when he called in the fire at his home.

The defense characterized it as a fictional character, one he created in his mind, something the defense is trying to show makes him not guilty due to mental disease or defect.

DETECTIVE:  “What was that name you told us?

VONACHEN: Dominck Seeth.

DETECTIVE: Who is that?

VONACHEN: A character.

DETECTIVE: It’s not an actual person or musician?”


On the stand Thursday afternoon, Dr. Trevor Patten, a psychologist who performed a mental evaluation on Vonachen in February 2014, said the teen had an IQ of 127. He also said besides having ADHD at a young age, Vonachen appeared to have no mental defects that would keep him from standing trial.

“I found that absolutely, he had the capacity to form the intent,” Dr. Patten testified.

The director of the youth facility, where Vonachen was placed after the fire, also testified about what he observed. He characterized Vonachen as very intelligent and well-read, but had few friends and often bullied others.

The defense pointed to other observations made at the home, that the teen would talk to himself and was seen talking to a piece of fruit, an orange.

The case could go to the defense on Friday. That could lead to more testimony about Vonachen’s alter ego.

Comments are closed.