Brett Seacat will go to trial for the murder of his wife Vashti. After hearing from 18 witnesses over two days, a judge decided there was enough evidence to hold Seacat over for trial.Before the decision, the defense argued that the state failed to show a burden of proof. The defense stated there's no evidence to show Seacat set the house on fire. Also the medical examiner says the manner of death can't be determined. Vashti died from a gunshot wound to the head and neck, but the medical examiner couldn't tell whether it was homicide or suicide.
The morning of Vashti's death, Seacat called his therapist. Clinical social worker Connie Suderman says when she talked to Seacat, he said "I killed her. Vashti is dead and it's my fault." She says she was instantly alarmed and started taking notes. She then asked Seacat what happened. She says he told her "I told Vashti I would take the kids out of the country. I was sleeping on the couch, she called me upstairs and then shot herself."
Suderman began seeing Vashti and Brett Seacat in November of last year. She says it was a last ditch effort to try and avoid divorce. Suderman says the Seacat's indicated they had communication problems as well as differences in basic values and beliefs. She counseled them as a couple and individually until April of 2011, the month of the fire. She says Seacat didn't think counseling would be effective, but he was trying to make his wife happy.
Suderman says Seacat thought Vashti was going to divorce him. He told her if she did, she would be divorcing the entire Seacat family including their children. He threatened to take them to Mexico if she filed for divorce. Suderman says she told Seacat that would be illegal. She says she also talked to Vashti about taking medications to treat depression, but she never considered Vashti suicidal.
The medical examiner who testified says she can't determine whether Vashti died as a result of suicide or homicide. She did die from a gunshot wound to the head and neck.
Dr. Jamie Oeberst says Vashti suffered gunshot wounds to the head, neck, trunk, left hip and left thigh. The trunk, hip and thigh injuries appear to have happened as a result of the fire. The heat from the flames caused the gun to fire more rounds of ammunition. Dr. Oeberst says she couldn't determine whether Vashti shot herself or someone killed her. She says the fact her body was so badly burned made it more difficult to determine the cause of death. She says there were no drugs or alcohol in Vashti's system.
ATF Special Investigator Douglas Monty testified about the fire itself. He says there were multiple fires on the second level of the home with a continuous trail of gasoline. He says there was evidence gasoline was poured on top of the bed where Vashti was found. He also found a gasoline can on the bed as well.
Monty testified that if Seacat went into the burning room and picked up Vashti's body, he would expect Seacat to have more injuries. Seacat had a minor burn on his foot. He told police he went into the bedroom, picked up Vahsti but her body was lifeless and blood was coming from her mouth. Police say there was no blood on Seacat when they met with him.
Seacat will be back in court January 6th for his arraignment. He remains in the Kingman County jail on a $1 million bond.
Below you can read a recap of Brian Heap's blog covering the two days of testimony.