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Sunday, December 4, 2011

[KS] Judge rules that Vashti Forrest's lawman ex, Brett Seacat, will stand trial for her murder

...Vashti Forrest-Seacat filed for divorce 
16 days before she was killed... 

A judge has ruled there is enough evidence for Brett Seacat to go to trial for killing Vashti Forrest, who had just had him served with divorce papers. Ex-Sedgewick Sheriff's Deputy Brett Seacat who was a police trainer for the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center at the time of Vashti's death, is charged with: first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Vashti's sister Kathleen testified Vashti would say she was scared of her husband - says that Vashti had plans, loved her children and home, and would never have killed herself...  Outside the courthouse, Vashti Seacat’s brother, Rich Forrest said it was clear from the hearing that part of the defense strategy was to attack his sister’s character. “Is there anything that they’ve brought up that can justify cold-blooded murder?” The fire was a way to conceal and destroy evidence, he said, and a faked suicide note had been planted so authorities would find it in the front seat of her car. Seacat will be arraigned on January 6th. At that time, a trial date will be set...

[KS] KLETC Police Instructor Brett Seacat arrested for murder of wife, Vashti Forrest...[Vashti Forrest] Seacat had filed for divorce just days before the fire... Vashti served divorce papers to her husband two days before the fire... In those papers, Brett Seacat was ordered out of the house, but family members told KAKE News that Vashti was allowing Brett to sleep on the couch until he was able to find new living arrangements...

MEMORIAL FUND to provide for the education of Vashti Seacat's two sons has been established. Contributions may be sent in the name of Brendan and Bronson Vashti to the Bank of America branch at 7310 W. 21st St., Wichita 67205.

EX-DEPUTY BRETT SEACAT BOUND OVER FOR TRIAL IN KINGMAN MURDER, ARSON CASE: Judge rules there’s enough evidence for ex-deputy to be tried in his wife’s murder
The Wichita Eagle
By Tim Potter
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011
[Excerpts] After two days of exhaustive, sometimes emotional testimony, it was time Wednesday for the prosecutor and defense attorney to sum up their arguments to [Kingman County District Court] Judge Larry Solomon. He had to decide whether Brett Seacat, a former lawman from a family of lawmen, should be tried on charges that he murdered his wife and set a fire in their home that endangered their two young sons. Assistant Attorney General Travis Harrod used words like “ludicrous” and “bizarre” to describe Seacat’s assertion to witnesses that his wife, Vashti, who had filed for divorce, would suddenly shoot herself in the head with a .44-caliber pistol after setting fire to their home while her 2- and 4-year-old sons slept down the hall... Solomon ruled there was enough evidence for Seacat to go to trial as charged: first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Seacat, a 35-year-old former Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy who was working as a trainer for police recruits at the time of his wife’s death on April 30, would face a potential life sentence. A trial date will be set in January... Solomon also denied a new request from Falk to lower Seacat’s bond from $1 million... Outside the courthouse, Vashti Seacat’s brother, Rich Forrest, said her family was “very encouraged” by the judge’s decision. Forrest said it was clear from the hearing that part of the defense strategy was to attack his sister’s character, adding, “Is there anything that they’ve brought up that can justify cold-blooded murder?”... Brett Seacat made it out of the burning house with his two sons. According to testimony, he said he had been asleep on a couch downstairs when he woke up to a cellphone call from his wife telling him to come get their sons in their bedroom upstairs, and that he heard a pop and a loud bang... The fire was a way to conceal and destroy evidence, he said, and a faked suicide note had been planted so authorities would find it in the front seat of her car... [Full article here]

The Hutchinson News
By Darcy Gray dgray@hutchnews.com
Thursday, Dec 1, 2011
[Excerpts] A former Kansas police instructor charged in the April 30 death of his wife, whose body was found after a fire at the couple's Kingman home, had given his wife an ultimatum April 29, Kingman's police chief testified Tuesday. Brett T. Seacat, 35, who was served divorce papers by his wife, Vashti, about two weeks before her death, said in an interview that he told Vashti on April 29 he would take their two sons to Mexico if she did not let him stay in the home, Kingman Police Chief Marc Holloway said... Brett said Vashti told him he needed to come upstairs to get their two sons, ages 2 and 4, "before they got hurt," Holloway testified. Brett said he heard a "pop" and a loud bang, and saw smoke and flames coming from the master bedroom when he went upstairs, according to Holloway. Brett said he went into the bedroom and tried to lift Vashti off of the bed but she was limp, so he grabbed the boys and took them outside, Holloway testified... Kingman Police Sgt. Travis Sowers, one of the first officers to respond to the fire, testified Brett told him his wife committed suicide by shooting herself in the head... Holloway said he allowed Brett to make phone calls before he interviewed him, and he overheard Brett repeatedly denying to Vashti's mother that he had killed her... Holloway said Brett described in the interview "bullying" Vashti the night before the fire into letting him stay at the home amid the pending divorce... Holloway described Brett as being devoid of emotion during an interview that lasted about an hour after the April 30 fire. The interview was not videotaped or recorded, but Holloway said he typed his report on the interview the next day. "What was his demeanor?" Harrod asked Holloway... "Very calm, very collected," Holloway testified. "No emotion indicating he had just lost his wife." [Full article here]
SUSPECT IN KINGMAN MURDER BOUND OVER FOR TRIAL: Brett Seacat is accused of killing his wife in a massive house fire just days after she served him with divorce papers.
Monday, November 28, 2011
[Excerpts] ...Vashti Seacat, 34, died in a house fire in the 200 block of East B Avenue in Kingman on April 30. Brett and the couple's two children escaped the fire unharmed. Two weeks before the fire, Vashti filed divorce papers against her husband. Friends and family have told KAKE News that she attempted to serve him the papers herself, but that he repeatedly refused them. He was formally served by law enforcement officers just two days before the fire. Vashti reportedly continued to allow Brett to stay in the family home until he could arrange to find a new place to live.... A police investigator testified the former Sedgwick County Sheriff's deputy accused of killing his wife talked about divorce in the hours before his wife's death... Kingman Police Chief Marc Holloway testified that Brett Seacat admitted he had been served with divorce papers days before his wife died. Holloway testified the couple talked about divorce the night of the fire. Brett Seacat reportedly told investigators he was sleeping on the couch downstairs when heard popping noises upstairs. He found Vashti's bed on fire, and discovered her body with blood around her mouth... A KBI agent testified a suicide note was found inside Vashti's car. The agent said he thought it was odd that the note was not covered in debris. The agent also said writing and the type of pen used for the letter was different from other entries. Earlier in the day, a former assistant at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center testified Seacat was looking for an overhead projector a day before Vashti's death. Seacat was a former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy that taught officers at the center. Karen Roberts said most instructors used more recent technology, not projectors. But she said that Seacat told her he needed the projector to duplicate a fraud case he was working on. Roberts said they found a projector in an old equipment room. She said she saw Seacat take the projector into his office, looked for a power strip, but never saw him use it... Kathleen Forrest testified her sister had plans for the future... Kathleen said her sister loved her home and would never burn it down. Kathleen also testified she was aware that her sister was involved in an intimate relationship with a friend from work weeks before her death. Vashti Forrest-Seacat filed for divorce 16 days before she was killed... Kathleen testified Vashti would say she was scared of her husband. She also said she encouraged Vashti to get a protection from abuse order against Seacat... A special agent from the KBI testified a gun was found under Vashti's body and a melted gas can was found near her body... Earlier, Sgt. Travis Sowers testified that he was the first person to arrive at the Seacat property that morning. He found smoke and flames pouring out of the second story. A shirtless Seacat was behind the home placing the children in a car. "I asked him if anyone else was inside," Sowers said. "Brett said his wife was dead inside. She shot herself. Her (expletive) head is gone." Later, Kathleen Forrest provided emotional testimony saying her sister would never have killed herself. They were planning to go on trips and vacations together, Forrest said. "Vashti had just bought us concert tickets for the next week," Forrest testified... Senior Special Agent Brian Carroll ended his testimony... Two important things Carroll talked about were that he found the gun underneath Vashti Forrest-Seacat's body to her left side. However, based on the way her body was found, he theorized that if Vashti killed herself, the gun would have fallen to her right. Carroll also noted that it appared to him that Vashti had been sleeping normally when she died. Coroner Dr. Jaime Oeberst provided what could be the most damaging evidence yet against Brett Seacat. Oeberst testified that Vashti Seacat's airway and lungs were not damaged at the time of autopsy. There was no soot or damage present that would indicate she was breathing when a fire could have been set... The [marriage] counselor took the stand... The counselor said the couple attending counseling sessions in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage... Doug Monte, ATF fire investigator, also testified... He said fire officials discovered multiple fires within the second floor... the fire started outside of the bedroom. Monte also said he found inconsistencies with the defendant’s story. Brett Seacat told police he ran upstairs, saw the fire, and tried to rescue his sleeping wife. He said her body was limp, so he laid her back down to get their two kids out safely. Monte said Seacat did not suffer any burn injuries... Seacat will be arraigned on January 6th. At that time, a trial date will be set... [Full article here]


By Kim Hynes & Brian Heap
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
=October 20, 2011
The Kingman man charged with killing his wife and setting their home on fire made a brief court appearance Friday... Judge Solomon set a preliminary hearing date of November 29 at 9:30. During the hearing, the judge heard two motions - including one to reduce Seacat's bond. The judge denied that motion. He did grant a motion to delay another motion because lawyers said evidence was not yet available. Seacat is charged with first degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangering of a child.  In April, his wife Vashti Seacat was found dead inside their burned Kingman home.  Brett and their two children made it out of the fire safely.  The home was destroyed by flames. Two days before the fire, Vashti served Brett with divorce papers... [Full article here]

October 21, 2011
[Excerpts] A former deputy and police instructor returned to a Kingman County courtroom for an evidentiary hearing before he goes on trial on charges he killed his estranged wife days after she filed for divorce. But it’s a legal matter outside of the courtroom that has Vashti Seacat’s family frustrated with Brett Seacat... Vashti is buried without a headstone.  Even though Seacat is facing charges accusing him of her murder, he still owns the plot and her family says he has refused to sign a form allowing them to mark her grave... Vashti’s family says they’re pleased a preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for November 29 making it likely Seacat will face trial sometime next year... All court documents in the case have been sealed, but her family has told reporters before that Vashti feared for her safety in the days before her murder... Seacat’s team of lawyers say they’ll try to show Vashti committed suicide.  It’s a claim the mother of two’s family finds ridiculou... The couple’s two children are now staying with family. Seacat remains locked up in Kingman County.  His bail has been set at $1 million.  His defense team was unable to convince a judge again on Friday to lower his bond. [Full article here]

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder kansas state politics]


    KWCH-TV 12 Eyewitness News
    by Brian Heap
    2:36 p.m. CST, January 6, 2012
    [VIDEO] [Excerpts] Brett Seacat pleaded not guilty to charges of killing his wife and setting fire to their Kingman home, while the couple's two young boys were asleep. Kingman County Judge Larry Solomon set the trial for April 23rd, but defense attorney Roger Falk is anticipating a delay. "I don't see this case going to trial until mid-summer probably at the earliest," Falk told reporters after Friday's brief hearing. Seacat is charged with first degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Last April, Vashti Seacat was found dead inside her bedroom. Authorities said she was shot... During Friday's hearing, Falk also asked the judge to delay the city's efforts to demolish the Seacat home. Neighbors have complained about the eyesore and about charred debris falling onto their property. Falk understands those concerns, but he needs more time to hire an arson expert to inspect the home for the defense. Falk said he was having trouble finding a qualified expert to work for the price the state's indigent defense fund is willing to pay... Judge Solomon agreed with Falk and asked the city to delay its demolition proceedings... [Full article here]

    The Wichita Eagle
    By Rick Plumlee
    Sat, Jan. 07, 2012
    [Excerpts] The first-degree murder and arson trial of former Sedgwick County sheriff’s Deputy Brett Seacat has been set for late April, but his defense attorney said he doesn’t expect the trial to start until midsummer... Investigators found Vashti Seacat’s body with an instantly fatal gunshot wound and severe heat damage by a melted gas container on the remains of her bed. A .44-caliber pistol lay under her body. Brett Seacat’s defense has claimed she committed suicide... Seacat stood as [District Court Judge Larry] Solomon asked for his pleas to the four charges. Seacat leaned over and consulted [defense attorney Roger] Falk before answering, “I plead not guilty”... Although Solomon didn’t issue an order to hold off on the demolition, he said it was “absolutely appropriate” that nothing should be done to the house until the defense has had a chance to examine it... Falk, a court-appointed attorney, said he has been delayed in getting the house examined because he hasn’t been able to find a qualified arson expert who will work at the rate paid by the state. He estimated the cost would be $4,000 to $7,000... If he can’t find an arson expert who will work at the state’s rates, he said, “Then we have to look at whether that’s depriving my client of his right to effective assistance to counsel”... Seacat is being held in Kingman County Jail on a $1?million bond... [Full article here]

  3. I'm just now going through my comments and on Jun 3 (2 days ago)I got a very nasty (evil?) comment about Vashti in my email. WHO would do that? Someone knows.


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