(KINGMAN, Kan.)—A Senior Special Agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will get to testify in an upcoming murder trial, but the judge won't let him say everything.
It's the latest pre-trial ruling in the case of Brett Seacat. He is the Kingman man accused of killing his wife, Vashti, and setting the couple's home on fire.
Before the hearing began, the defense tried to keep the public and media out of the hearing. Seacat's attorneys didn't want the information out before the trial. Kingman County District Judge Larry Solomon disagreed and opened the hearing.
Tuesday's motion centered on the testimony of Senior Special Agent Cory Latham. He leads the state's crime scene response team and collected evidence from the Seacat's home.
Prosecutors say Latham is an expert in his field and should be allowed to tell jurors his opinion about the evidence he found.
"No blood was observed on Brett's hands, arms, or body even though he described lifting Vashti up by reaching under her neck and upper body after she received a gun shot wound to head and neck," said Kansas Assistant Attorney General Amy Hanley.
The defense asked the judge to keep Latham's testimony out of the trial, because they believe it will be a repeat of what the jury will already hear from other expert witnesses.
"By its own cumulative nature, it is more prejudicial to my client than it is pertinent," said Defense Attorney Val Wachtel. "That is the danger."
Kingman County District Judge Larry Solomon sided with the defense. He won't let Latham's conclusions into trial. Judge Solomon says some of his testimony will be allowed.
"I do think it's fair that a witness to point out inconsistencies between physical evidence and statements made," Solomon said.
Both sides will be back in court December 10th for another pre-trial hearing. Seacat's trial is scheduled to start May 20th, 2013.