by Brian Heap
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
2:36 PM CST, January 6, 2012
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 in the head. Brett Seacat and their children made it out of the fire safely.
Falk said the trial, which is expected to last two weeks, will come down to whether jurors decide Vashti's death was a suicide or a homicide. During a preliminary hearing in November, a medical examiner testified she could not make that determination.
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.
"The Constitution doesn't say you get the best lawyer or the best arson expert in the world, you get whoever you can get for the price that the Kansas Legislature deems to be appropriate," he said.
Judge Solomon agreed with Falk and asked the city to delay its demolition proceedings until the home is no longer needed for the case.
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV