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I wonder why I didn't do more. I should have done something different. I'll live with that forever, forever and ever. It will haunt me. High school sweethearts with a growing family. It all went up in flames through the park and his wife was inside, I believe somehow it wasn't true, none of it made sense to me. But buried in the ashes secrets.


I don't care what you think. You're saying you're dealing with a murder.


The guy. How did it end up completely underneath a body? In the front driver's seat was what appeared to be a note. She had rekindled a relationship with one of the executives, did someone have something to hide? You know, she pulled the trigger? No. Did you kill her? No. It was like a script and answers for everything. Your head spinning. You realize this is if you're going to hell for what you've done in this case.


It was dark past three a.m., a week into Crescent Moon, struggled to penetrate the night here in the middle of America, Kingman, Kansas, population 3000, was asleep, except. On a quiet residential street, a woman unable to sleep watched a crime show on TV, was that popping noise she heard coming from somewhere in the neighborhood, or was it her TV show or just a remnant of the windy day looking around her windowsill? The Silent Night closed in again April 30th, 2011, tornado season.


Oh, and there was a storm that night. The whirlwind even then sweeping all of them into its vortex. But it began not with wind. This fire, I don't want to have an urgent call if there's a fire 351, I am the man on the phone that I was frantic out of breath. And my wife is here is the actual audio of Kingman's.


One officer on duty that night running to his police car and speeding to the burning house where he met the nine one one caller outside. You can hear them both recorded by his patrol cars, dashboard video camera.


The man said his wife was still in the master bedroom in the back of the House second floor, and if that was true, didn't look good for her. A passerby recorded it on his cell phone. By then, the volunteer fire brigade was arriving. Not much any of them could do for the woman inside as the man calmed down a little. He told the officer he was able only to rescue his two and four year old son, carry them to safety.


So somewhere in there, his wife, their mother was dead. There was more to his story, as you'll hear, much more.


But for now, the dismal business of sorting out what happened. So where to begin? The man on the street said his wife's name was Vashti, Vashti Seacat.


There was a name out of the Bible and the book of Esther. There was a queen, Vashti. My dad thought the name was Nate, so we named her Vashti.


Ashley's sister, Kathleen, lived three hours away. Neither she nor her brother Rich could believe what they heard. That dark morning.


First thing I did was called the Kimlin County Sheriff's Department. Just to verify. Could they help you? Did they tell you anything? First, they asked who I was and I explained my relationship to Vashti and then he said, you know, there's been a fire and. We believe she's deceased and the man standing outside his burning house, that was Vashti's husband, Brett Seacat, her very first love.


Yeah, they met in high school. She did some stats for a team and he was a wrestler. First little love in high school, first boyfriend girlfriend.


They broke up and got back together a few times, as people do, until they finally married in 2004.


That first love always holds a special place in your life.


But by dawn on the 30th of April 2011, though, as you'll hear, Brett certainly knew what to do in a crisis. There was nothing he or anyone could do to get it back. The life he had with Vashti and their two boys now motherless boys Brandon born in the fall of 2006, Bronson less than two years later when they had their babies.


It was a very happy time. My sister was Mother of the Year award goes to her and at four in the morning she would get up and make baby food.


Wow. So her kids could have organic, healthy food.


She lived for those babies and not just her own kids. She was the first to help someone at the boy's daycare.


A little boy had it was cancer, leukemia, something. And she stayed up and baked many loaves of banana bread and sold those to raise the money for that boy to have treatment.


What was it like as a dad? He did lots of things with the kids. I will tell you. He did walks with them. He would play outside with them. He was very engaged as a daddy, was very proud of his sons.


Brad was a law man from a family of law man, a former sheriff's deputy. And for the last few years, he'd been teaching officer recruits of all types of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, where Bobby Seacat, one of his brothers, worked before him. He was actually hired to replace me when I left there.




So what was the job teaching what Brett got into the accident investigation and collision investigation. But he was much more into physical training and defense tactics than I ever was, had more interest in that kind of thing.


He did personal combat stuff he did growing up. He got into martial arts. He was into wrestling in high school and then got into bodybuilding, martial arts things. He was a lot bigger than I was.


The training center job gave Brett a set schedule with regular hours, which was a welcome change from being a deputy sheriff, especially with those two boys clamoring for his attention at home.


He was close to the boys, but he was very masculine with the boys. It was raise them as boys. They were tough. They wrestled a lot. And he would wrestle with them.


He'd toss them across the room onto the couch, and they'd bounce off the couch and run right back to the cast again.


A terrible thing to happen to such a beautiful young family, even if the fire was all you heard about it. But now Brett Seacat headed to the local law enforcement center a few blocks away.


And there he repeated to fellow law enforcement officers something he'd said on the 911 call that the fire was not what killed Vashti Seacat. So what did happen to Vashti?


A surprising piece of evidence right there in the bedroom. She was lying on her left side like she was under the covers asleep. The firearm was actually under her left hip firearm, a gun in the bed. The sun rose over grief and chaos that last morning of April 2011 ended a Kingman, Kansas, Vashti Seacat was dead. Her house burned around her and her husband and two little boys were just beginning to understand what had happened to them. They can't believe it staged, just like her siblings, Kathleen and Rich, like I believe.


Somehow it wasn't true. You you played with God or you you just want a miracle to happen.


No miracles to be had. And that might have been the end of it. Really an awful tragedy. But these things do happen.


And for all but loved ones are soon forgotten by the rest of the world, except those volunteer firemen weren't quite sure what they were dealing with.


So they took the prudent step and called in the state fire marshal and the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, we get a lot more training.


We get a lot more exposure to the scientific side of things.


And that morning, ATF agent Doug Monty showed up at the house to have a look around.


If you looked at it from the front of the house, all you really noticed was the fact that part of the roof had collapsed as you made your way around back, there was very, very heavy fire damage to include collapse of the second and third floor, which is significant to really at the front facade that was up in the rest of it was it wasn't it wasn't down.


But anybody going by could tell there was a very significant fire that occurred inside on the second and third floors.


And you heard there was a body inside. Did you hear anything else about it?


That normally when I arrive at a scene like that, I'll meet with the on scene investigators, the fire chief, local officers. And they had informed me that as he first arriving officer got there, he made contact with with Brett Seacat and he indicated that his wife was inside.


They also told him that when the first responders arrived, the windows in the master bedroom were still intact, which would have tamped down the fire inside the room where Vashti was last seen. And that man, there was some chance at least that some evidence would still exist and there wouldn't be completely incinerated by the flames. And sure enough, when Montegut inside what was left of the house, he saw the body fascistic, lying on the mattress in the master bedroom on the second floor.


She was lying on her left side. Her knees were slightly drawn up. It appeared that her elbows were bent. There were still a significant amount of blanket or covering on her like she was under the covers asleep.


Also there a weapon. The firearm was actually under her left hip, which would have been against the mattress with the barrel facing downward.


It became clear the gun had been the source of a single gunshot wound to the side of her lower skull.


There were other wounds, too. Oddly enough, you can hear gunshots going off during the fire and that cell phone recorded shot by a passer by. And to be agent, what he said when the hot fire exploded, the remaining bullets in the gun sending bullets into Basti body and something else that courtesy of those blown windows didn't burn up completely.


We noticed a red plastic container very close to her, her back on on the mattress itself, plastic container for what was a gas can. Clearly a gas can. Yes. So what does that tell you?


Well, our job that day was to determine the origin and cause of the fire and to classify it, whether it was accidental, whether we couldn't determine a cause or whether it was incendiary or someone intentionally set the fire.


Well, that certainly would make a suggestion, wouldn't it, that count on the bed? That would be an indicator. Yes, sir.


Suspicious? Oh, yes. But maybe not what you're thinking. Maybe not murder. In fact, the answer to what happened to Vashti Seacat was right there in her husband's panicky call to 911. One shot herself, but she's in the fire. But why would the mother of two little boys kill herself? That was a story only her widower, Brett Seacat, could tell she wanted to make everybody happy.


Brett Seacat has some secrets to share, hidden forms that she would put on one face for her family and the public. Then she would be a different person at home. Fire is a terrible thing to happen to a family, but fire was only half of the deadly event that ruptured the Seacat family of Kingman, Kansas. This was a fire and a shooting, apparently both the suicidal work of Vashti Seacat and because it occurred in a small rural county. It triggered a call to the KBI, the statewide Kansas Bureau of Investigation, whose special agent, Dave Feleti, welcomed the chance to hear what happened directly from Brett Seacat himself, mistakenly read, remember, was in law enforcement himself and understood that Agent Feleti needed to hear the whole story, warts and all.


We interviewed him for seven and a half hours. Just two cops talking to each other seem to be forthcoming. He's very forthcoming.


Well, I'm not that happy here. I just want to talk about what happened on that roof. I know it's been a terrible time for you.


The agent was about to discover that Brett was dealing not just with grief, but with the heavy burden of guilt. So it took a while to get to that part of the story.


Usually when we interview people, I want them to start at the very beginning and we did.


Brett told them the story of how he met Vashti in high school and how he was smitten from the very first moment.


She was great. She wanted to make everybody happy. She really, really worked on that. She really cared what people thought about her. Almost to the point of neurosis, I always thought, and maybe that's why in recent years you've been paying way too much attention to a job, he said, even when she was home.


She is very dedicated to her job. And I always thought that that kind of took away from her time with the kids because, you know, the kids and I may be playing in the living room and she may is working.


But making matters worse, said Brett, was it Vashti was depressed, had been for a long time something almost no one else knew. He had informed that Vashti was basically to Vashti. She would put on one face for her family and the public, and then she would be a different person at home so that Brett knew and nobody else.


Right. She would get depressed over something, but she would never talk to anybody about being depressed or because she was she was always worried about how people would be or and even as her boyfriend has her husband, the only reason I ever even got exposed is because I was the guy who spent the night with her.


Things got so bad. Brett said her depression was affecting their marriage. They started seeing a therapist. He also told investigators that to help her lose weight, Vashti took a hormonal supplement, HEG, which has been linked to depression, and he remembered something that now came back to haunt him.


He told them that one night he and Vashti were watching a drama on TV during which someone had committed suicide with a firearm, and she had asked him if that gun would be a good gun to do that with.


And he said, yeah, I've got one of those. But the Dirty Harry gun, which he indicated was the 44 Ruger Magnum that they had, would be a better tool to do that with.


So. He look back on it then in the interview with you as oh, my gosh, I told her how to kill herself. Right.


But it got even worse, said Brett. And Vashti told him, to his dismay, that she wanted to split up and served him with divorce papers. And he very upset, he said told her the night she died.


And you and I will go to the mat. And, you know, I made it perfectly clear whether it was true or not, that. If this went to court. I was going to do everything I could to make sure she seen and there was no sharing your bed anymore, and after he fell asleep on the couch downstairs, he said his cell phone rang. It was Vashti calling from the bedroom upstairs.


Anyway, I answer it. She said, Are you awake? You need to come get the boys. Brett said he jumped up and heard a loud noise so I can make us all not slam the door as hard as they could.


Then he said, You heard what sounded like somebody walking around on the second floor and he bounded up the stairs to the bedroom.


And I remember that clearly now. And there were small flames around the door and flames were about high on the ground. About a foot. Yeah.


And then he said he ran into the master bedroom that is on fire and the whole room could have been on fire. I'm pretty sure it was. But I am just looking right there. And Vashti was laying on her back right in the spot where she sleeps.


He said he reached over Vashti right shoulder and around her neck, pulled her up. And she sent down, waffled in my arms, down straight, and I'm like, somebody picked it up. Then all of a sudden it sort of came to me. Did fire get. I just dropped her. That's what he ran to the boys room. You said scooped them up, ran downstairs, put them in the car, and then called nine one one and then ran back into the house to try to get.


He covered his face with a wet dishcloth, he said, and ran back up the stairs.


By the time I get to the top of the stairs, it's pitch black. I can't see anything, not even my hand in front of my face. I told myself to get out.


And now Vashti was dead and Brett couldn't stop wondering. He told Agent Feleti, wondering if she was thinking about the kids as she prepared to end her life by the questions. Or did he say goodbye, or did Mommy tuck you in and say night night or didn't you say goodbye was the big one because she did love his kids and I could see her going in there kissing each one of them goodnight, Brett said.


He explained to the boys, especially the older ones, that Mommy's in heaven, but she's with God.


We talk about that every night before bed and he'll cop the cop.


It was as if Brett Seacat was in a confessional booth full of sorrow for threatening to take away the boys. The trigger, he was sure for her suicide. Did he seem remorseful about having visited? He showed remorse that he had driven her to commit suicide. He had given her no other out other than to take her own life. A journal in the front driver's seat was what appeared to be a note to her two children and to Brett, could it be a final message to her family?


The known facts were stark, quite clear, Vashti Seacat was dead, a fatal bullet wound to the head. Her house burned around her. Her boy's mother lost her husband, a widower. Now, the trick would be finding evidence for or against the story behind the apparent suicide. Brett Seacat story, which was long in coming, said Lee, KBI agent for Levy. In Vashti's purse, they found a Post-it note with a list of expenses, indications of money that she needed in her life insurance.


The list included funeral expenses, and then they had a good look through Vashti's Volkswagen and in her trunk, they found printed material about coping with stress and anxiety. But more important, investigators discovered something Feleti knew was absolutely key.


In the front driver's seat was a journal. But as you open that book and go past some of the notes that she had written in reference to her children. Kind of bookmarked with the string that you usually find in those types of books was what appeared to be a note to her two children and to Brett. And in that note, she's trying to explain to the children, I love them and she tell our children to keep take care of each other.


And that made the comment. And Brett, I took care of the house for you.


The note also said she'd be watching over her sons from heaven. And all those words on that page seemed pretty clear. It was a goodbye note. Investigators also talked to Vashti's friends and family colleagues at Cox Communications, where she worked in human resources and others who knew her well. They said Vashti had been going to a therapist for several months, that she'd been losing a lot of weight recently and taking the hormonal supplement. Høeg.


Could it have affected her mood? Perhaps half brother Bobby was dumbstruck by what happened, couldn't comprehend it, so he peppered with questions. None of it made sense to me. I said, were there problems? He said, well, yeah, he she filed for divorce. And he told me they'd been to see a counselor. They'd been going through counseling for six months. And I said, what would cause her to do this? And he said, I use the boys as a weapon, something I never should have done.


If she tried taking custody of the boys, I would. Take the boys and run away with them. And. He was beating himself up about that, and I, of course, said probably half of all the people have ever gotten divorced that have kids involved have said something similar.


Bobby was learning things about Vashti. He'd never known. He said like when Brad told him that before Vashti died, she had been spending evenings out, going out partying and and dancing and drinking.


So where would the kids be when she did that with Brett? And I'm not saying that those kids didn't mean a lot to her. She was a wonderful person on the surface and. There was a different Vashti. That we were unaware of, and it's it's upsetting to be made aware of it, the bread basket is going out was a sure sign she was sinking into depression, fit the pattern he'd seen before, as he told the investigators. And again, Bobby was shocked, didn't know a thing about it before this happened.


I had never heard anything about her being suicidal. And that's why I have some disappointment. My half brother, I mean, if he felt a duty to protect her, I understand. But there are other people there to help you through this. In hindsight, I'm sure he wishes he would have shared those things.


But one thing jumped right back at Bobby, something he saw the weekend before Vashti died. She seemed sad and withdrawn that time. He saw her sitting by herself in the house while her young sons were hunting for Easter eggs outside. She was not typical Vashti, who was usually bubbly and talkative. And it was unusual that an Easter egg hunt occurred and she didn't even get off the couch and come outside.


Bobby and his wife noticed. Asked how she was doing.


All she told us that day was she really didn't like work and work was a struggle for her daily. She said, I got into H.R. to give people a future and hope. And I don't remember the last person I hired.


And according to Bobby, who actually said when she had to lay off employees, it was difficult for her, especially if she was close to them.


She said, if they're not your friends, they take the news and they leave. If they're your friends, they stay in your office and cry on your shoulder for an hour.


As Brett is half brother Ian on everything, Bobby came to understand that apparently the emotions of Vashti's job, the strain of her divorce, her depression and Brett's threat to take the kids from her proved too much. And sadly, she took her life, leaving Brett and the boys to go on somehow themselves have gotten past anger towards her.


Now it's just it bothers me. There's just things, I think, in her life that derailed.


But to set the house on fire with their own little boys inside, we're trying to assign rational thinking to someone that I believe was getting ready to take their own life. So for Brett's family, it was starting to make sense. But for Vashti's family, it just made no sense at all.


Questions and suspicions. I don't care what you're being told, you're dealing with a murder. The vigil for Vashti Seacat was held across the street from her burned out house. Her life was grounded in your love. Kathleen and Rich were there. So was Brett with his two sons. Not easy for any of them. And truth as Vashti's siblings, Kathleen and Rich, knew as a way of looking so very different, depending on who was doing the looking.


Which is why the rich found out something happened to his sister. He called the Kingman County Sheriff's Office.


I said, I don't care what you're being told.


I don't care what you think you're saying. I said you're dealing with a murder, a murder.


Even as they grieved, Kathleen and Rick had become suspicious of Brad. Ever since Brad called Kathleen to tell her the news. And phrased it in such an odd way, he said she killed herself and then set the house on fire. So how it was said to us was backwards. And just from conversations her and I had had, I knew. I just I knew. What did he sound like? No emotion, very calm, no tears, no no hysterics.


Just very matter of fact. And I'm hysterical. I'm not married to her and she's not the mother of my children. And I'm hysterical. But he he wasn't.


A week or so later, Brett drove down to Oklahoma to speak directly with Kathleen and her husband. And he had answers for everything, like why she did what she did, why she thought what she thought. It was like a script answers for everything where normal people would be confused. And there was a picture of her that was a poster sized picture on my fireplace. And I looked over at it and said she was such a good mother and I broke down and he said, Oh, I'm over that.


I'm just kind of angry at her and ready to move on, but they had to admit that rich social interactions had always been a little cold, sometimes inappropriate.


And his reaction to Vashti's death was not out of character. He didn't like people. He more wanted to isolate my sister and have her all to himself. I almost felt like Vashti and the children were more of a possession. Then they were his mind, like your clan. Everybody stay away from my stuff.


Yeah, so was a different kind of love then maybe what I would define as love. Early on, at least according to her siblings, Vashti questioned her decision to marry Brett, wondering if she should stay in the marriage, that is, until she found out she was pregnant with the first of her sons.


I do think Brett treated her well while she was pregnant. He was very proud he was going to be having sons and the Seacat name was going to be, you know, pushed on.


But several times in their marriage, it didn't feel right. I know she missed family. She wanted to reconnect with friends. She felt forced to not have the same friends and that bothered her.


Did it change the way she was, her personality? Those boys were her life.


So I think she was so focused and focused and wrapped up in the children that, you know, she probably didn't notice it like we did from the outside.


But the fall of 2010, said Kathleen, Vashti was miserable again. She was feeling depressed then. And so she and Brett started seeing a therapist together and alone, but things didn't get any better. And so in the spring of 2011, Vashti filed for divorce.


This wasn't a spontaneous oh, I think I'll just get divorced. And I know she had thought it through well enough.


She'd had enough of him, had told Kathleen, so she said he's a grandiose narcissist and it's not going to get better, it's not going to change. But was Vashti depressed, as Brett was saying? Not anymore. Is that Kathleen and Rick? They talked to her all the time. They said, you know, she was sad about the divorce. She was looking forward finally to a happier life. She felt liberated. They said he was excited about her job, was losing weight, starting new friendships and planning a vacation with you and a concert and a Hawaii trip and a spring field trip.


And we had just gone shopping the week before and the clothes were still in the bag at her house. In fact, she had so many things lined out for us to do that I was thinking I can't keep up with her.


So I didn't buy bread story at all. She was not depressed. She was anything but.


The Wednesday before Vashti died, when Brett was served with the divorce papers, she spent that night with their sons at a friend's house and was going to stay there until Friday. And Brett was supposed to be out of the house. That was the plan, said Kathleen.


He got a hold of her on Thursday and told her to come home, that she owed it to him to let him say goodbye to his kids. He told her he couldn't be out by Friday. He had nowhere to go. His parents didn't even know they were contemplating divorce. He didn't have any friends to go stay with. He said he needed a few more days to get out. Could she please come home and let him tell his boys goodbye and just talk?


I begged her to not go and she said, Kathleen, my only way out is to try to reason with them. And she said, I'm not a monster. I'm not a monster. He has nowhere else.


Rich, talk to Vashti.


But Friday about dinnertime, that's the whole conversation was, you know, hey, sis, how are things going in light of the situation? And everything she said was, well, Brett's having a really hard time with this and Brett's really struggling with this. It hurt her. It hurt her that he was so torn up.


And less than 12 hours later, Vashti was dead. Kathleen and Rich told investigators that's the truth. As they saw it, they were certain Brett killed Vashti, made it look like suicide. And because he was a man who actually trained law enforcement officers, you were worried that because of his training, he knew how to beat the system. Oh, yeah. He would brag about it. He had books. You know, he knew how to do it.


Brett Seacat under scrutiny. I would expect his chest to have some type of singeing, there was absolutely nothing. It's not always so straightforward, determining from evidence what's suicide and what's murder, Brett said it was obviously suicide. Her family said no way. So now investigators had to figure out who was right. They scoured the wreck of the Seacat house for clues.


I remember grabbing one of the KBI or fire mark, just somebody that was working the scene. And I said, give me some hope. Are you finding something that's going to let everybody know what happened? And I remember he looked at me and he said. I will tell you this, in this instance, justice will be served, but what did that mean?


As another investigator told them, justice will be served and maybe justices, he didn't do it. We don't have emotions in this. We are here to collect facts. And collect they did, including a bit of unburnt material on the dining room table in the Seacat home, quite odd.


It was actually a PowerPoint that included almost almost like an instructor would be teaching a class on on different types of death, suicides, homicide, I believe, was listed on their fire, blunt force trauma, things of that than an officer or investigator would be looking at when they're investigating a death of some sort.


Would that make sense, though, if it was if he's a teacher, a policeman, that he might have that an individual that probably could be looked at or that in fact, said Brett, that's exactly what it was.


It was paperwork that he brought home from school or from class that he had taken, I believe, in college. And it was a scrap paper. And he pulled it in there because on the night before the morning she passed away, they'd been working on a budget. And and we did find it looked like somebody was preparing a budget for their bills together because they had separate accounts. So they were he was trying to show that he could help her out and paying off some of these bills.


And that was the activity in the evening before she died. Correct. So it was a kind of a cooperative activity, according to Mr. Seacat. Yes.


Also, Brett said that when he ran into the burning bedroom to try to save Vashti, he was only wearing pants, no shirt or shoes. So I would expect to see some type of injury to fire.


All we ended up finding when we photographed him later was a very, very minor singeing on his legs from hair. You get more than that. If you were lighting a barbecue pit and you said yourself and he had a couple of minor blisters on one of his feet, if he bent over a bed that's on fire to get his wife, I would expect his chest to have some type of singeing.


There was absolutely nothing much more that can't be found. A small amount of gasoline on the pants he was wearing. Suspicious maybe, but proof of murder staging the scene not even close. There was an autopsy, of course, the results of which could be seen as suspicious or not. There was no soot in her airway or in her lungs that would indicate that there were no breaths taken prior to the fire kind of getting into the fire was lit after she was dead.


You can make that. Assumption, is it possible that she could have poured the accelerant around these various places and has lit them all, hopped back into bed, covered herself up, shot herself and. Then died with and still had no, no, certainly no longer. I mean, the fires are just getting started. It's possible. But if she's made that decision to go to that length, I would expect that she would be very excited. Her respirations would be very, very rapid as she would be breathing heavy.


There'd be something in her lungs subquery. That would be my experience as I've worked multiple fatality fires over the years.


But ATF investigators opinion aside, facts are facts. And the coroner said there just weren't enough of them to determine whether Vashti's death was homicide or suicide, just too much fire damage to know for sure.


So Agent Feleti and his team poked around for whatever circumstantial evidence there might be. They went to where Brett worked and were told by co-workers at the law enforcement training center that on the day before Vashti died, Brett took two computer hard drives to the maintenance shop there and asked how to destroy them.


And ultimately they showed him a torch and he used a torch to basically oxy, oxy suddenly torch that burns at a very high temperature.


He used that to to torch the hard drives and then threw them away to different trash cans, along with a couple of cell phones, which he at first pulled apart. More troubling, on the other hand, wasn't like he was skulking around or hiding any of that unusual activity. He even asked his colleagues for help. So back to the house and the neighborhood around it. Door to door when Feleti and his team of investigators and three doors down from the Seacat house was a woman who said she was having trouble sleeping that night and so was awake in the wee hours watching TV in her living room.


And at some point she believed she heard what was a gunshot.


And she believed that was sometime before the fire trucks and the police officer showed up in front of the Seacat residence.


Exactly when each of those things happened, she couldn't say for sure. But reviewing the TV show she'd been watching, she you could tell them which scene was playing when she heard that gunshot. And that's how the KBI was able to determine. The gun went off long before Brett called 911 one.


We believed it was about 30, 35 minutes prior to Mr. Seacat calling 911. One, as when she heard that giving that gunshot to do something right.


And the ATV's Monte discovered the fire was not simply a matter of lighting the bed on fire. Was that where the fire was started? In my opinion, there were multiple fires started on the second floor of the residence.


Interesting. But it didn't rule out the possibility that Vashti herself started the fires. There's a lot of things in limbo at that point. Yes. But their suspicions pointed in one direction toward Brett Seacat, who was going from grieving, guilt ridden widower to a serious person of interest, which his half brother Bobby found preposterous, especially when it came to what the KBI thought was Brett's suspicious behavior at the training center. As a former cop and cop trainer himself, Bobby just knew his brother didn't do it.


When you are in law enforcement and you know about identity theft, those are things you do. You break cell phones and you burn hard drives. Not only was he well versed in identity theft, he was a substitute instructor of it. I think in hindsight, if he had known what was about to happen that very night, he wouldn't have thrown cell phones away. He wouldn't have burned hard drives. He would not have done anything.


And he especially wouldn't have spent the night in that house because he would draw attention to it, make him look guilty. Absolutely.


Was it just appearances or was it more than that? Anger and accusations. You know, you pulled the trigger. No. Did you kill her? No.


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When Brett Seacat arrived for that chat with investigators looking into the death of his wife, Vashti, it was as if he could finally relax after the worst two weeks of his life.


Honestly, talking to you guys distracts me from all the thoughts of late. So I actually do better in this room. I did a little talking.


I did very few questions. We basically just let Mr. Seacat go and he talked for multiple hours.


Brett knew the rules, of course, had to know he was very much a person of interest, but he was content to chat back and forth for something like seven hours, didn't bring a lawyer with him, didn't ask for one. Even when the investigators zeroed in on what they saw as holes in his story, things just kind of happened.


I think, you know, that we just want to make sure we get all the facts right and get to the truth. Why would you want to know?


Brad willingly answered almost every question they had, like why there was no real evidence on his body to back up his story of what he did the night Vashti died.


You had no blood on you supposedly picked her up in the bed and on your clothes you had. No, I didn't hold it in close. I held you in real fire on the bottom of your feet. Not if you walked through fire. You should have some type of injuries besides a small injury on the top of one of your feet. I don't know whether eight hours I had some sort of weird black Jared that you guys have pictures of that.


Did I know that?


I stepped in and I know the investigators were also starting to think that the note in the journal was forged. But to be honest with you, when I looked at the notebook, I'm going to say right.


Because, well, Lance longlines, part of the time is the other way, part of the time that these were different. Just what I was Earthshaker angry at me. But it's not my handwriting or why.


On the Friday before Vashti died, besides destroying hard drives and cell phones, Brett spent time in his office with the door locked, which was pretty unusual at the training center. Oh, my God.


You know, I was like, oh, knew I was crying. He had the door locked and loaded, locking up my divorce papers from his friends. You're in love. You're still in love with her.


And I and she was going to leave you. There was no doubt about that. But that's not why you killed some people.


Do you have no idea how impossible it is? Well, you can't kill her.


But could he answer the central question or explain the thing that didn't make sense to anybody?


Why Vashti, even if she was intent on suicide, why she would destroy the house, too? Why set it on fire?


She really did not like that house. We were going out to fix it up and we didn't particularly have to have the money or resources to fix it up if she had and that she started really hating that house.


But at its heart, said Brett Estes, reason might well have had more to do with vanity.


She was a very, very beautiful girl and always thought about what people would see.


I think she made a shot herself and then assumed that her face would be really messed up. So she lit a fire in Gaza City just a couple of feet away. Agent Feleti all but shook his head and said he didn't believe it.


We asked him if he thought if he was sitting in my shoes interviewing me and saw the things that we saw and heard what he had told us. Would he think that things just didn't add up?


OK, yes. But you see where we're coming from. Not some guys say where you come from. I mean, this is a hundred times worse than what I had pictured in my mind before. I just thought I I lacked any evidence. And now you're saying. This is raised a lot of evidence that I know of. There existed. Well, the hard part was real bad. Things are just not looking good and there end up to that, you had something to do with this president.


We need to know why. Oh, no, there's is no way, OK? I didn't do this. I love that I've treated you. I'm sure you still do. But people do things to people that I wouldn't want my kids like this. And for. Per family. When my family. I don't. I didn't. Want to give up, Vash? I fought hard. To try and keep us together intact, said Brett, if he had murdered Vashti, you'd have made a better job of it.


I'm smart enough that if I wanted to kill my wife, it would have been a lot. I could come up with something better than this. This is insane.


This is what a crazy person does on this crazy in love, crazy for his kids.


You don't try and twist it around. No, I'm not. Then for. He got to the point.


Well, did you. No. Did you pull the trigger? No. Did you kill her? No.


Brett left the station, then went to be with his boys and whatever his thoughts may have been, but not for long, because no matter how adamant Brett's denials were, they just didn't add up to the KBI. However depressed Brett said Vashti was, it made no sense. She would have lit the house on fire with her two sleeping sons in harm's way. The next day, Brett Seacat was taken into custody. He was formally charged three days later.


Brett Seacat did then and there unlawfully, feloniously, intentionally and with premeditation, kill Vashti Seacat. Your mom does one million dollars. He was also charged with arson and endangering his children. Brett could not make Bond and so remain in jail to await a jury's decision about what really happened in the Seacat home and king of Kansas in the early hours of April 30th, 2011. But note, some of his actions were reckless.


The gun. How did it end up? And body, body, body.


She said, do you think Brett would burn the house down with me in it?


The prosecutors come on strong. As Kingman coped with the tragedy in its midst, the smallest victims of the Vashti and Brett Seacat story endured what horrors we can all imagine. Kathleen left her home in Oklahoma to help care for Vashti's young sons shortly after her sister died. And perhaps more than anyone, she was learning what violent death could do to her family.


We held those babies all night. They would wake up. They were traumatized by the fire. So to rock the little two and a half year old begging you, please ask Jesus, please bring my mommy back. I'll be good. I need a mommy that breaks your heart and this one on for a long time at night. Sobbing For hours.


Those poor kids. I mean, you're trying to process that mommy's gone forever. And and these people over here think Mommy killed herself. And these people over here think my daddy shot my mommy.


The trial to decide one way or the other finally began in May 2013, two years after the fire, two years in which the local media covered the Seacat case in a big way.


It's looking like Brett Seacat will finally face trial for the death of Vashti Seacat.


Brett was entitled to ask to have his trial moved to another county, which might have been less saturated with news of the case against him. But he elected to keep it right here in Kingman's historic courthouse, a mere two blocks from his ruined home.


The defendant, intentionally and with premeditation, committed the murder of his wife, Vashti Seacat.


But for all the talk there had been around town, Assistant Attorney General Amy Huntley and precious little hard evidence to draw upon, not even an autopsy report to wave around because the coroner hadn't labeled Vashti's death a homicide.


No, the evidence was not hard. It was circumstantial. In other words, Hadley would be asking the jury to look at the circumstances and then put two and two together.


He got a summary for who ran off, whatever. He approached her in bed while she was sleeping. He shot her in the head. He set fire to at least two places in the house to cover up his actions. And he did all this while their two young sons remained in Brussels.


He had more than half the motive. Quite simple, said the prosecution, Brett did not want a divorce, but he did want custody of his sons and he would do what it took, even kill Vashti to keep them there. Their marriage counselor took the stand.


He said that he felt like Vashti was going to run. He could just feel it, that she was going to leave him and that if she divorced him, she was divorcing the entire Seacat family, including the children, and that he would take the children and she would never see them, even if it meant leaving the country.


So I told him it was not legal, that it wasn't going to help the children.


It would hurt them a great deal that they needed access to both their parents.


Did you talk to him about divorce couples having two households? Yes. And what was Brett's comments about that?


He said he'd seen children of divorce and he didn't think it was worse for them to have just one parent or one household. He thought it was better.


And as for Brett's claim that Vashti killed herself, the therapist said she didn't believe it.


For a second, I asked her whether she would commit suicide and she said no for two reasons. One, her religious beliefs and her faith. And the second was that she couldn't do that to her boys, that she just loved being a mom. She couldn't she couldn't leave them. They needed her.


The prosecutors showed the jury a photo of the contents of Vashti's purse, which contained that Post-it note, listing various costs, including funeral expenses.


Vashti Seacat, as all of her friends and family testified, it was a very organized person as both a mother and in her career at work. And that list is simply somebody planning out what they might do in their future when they're going to get divorced, which we know Vashti Seacat was doing.


Prosecutors also showed jurors the PowerPoint papers found on the dining room table, the presentation about homicide suicides, fire.


Drew Brett was a law enforcement trainer, said the prosecutor, but those were not his subject.


He was not teaching arson. He wasn't teaching homicide. He wasn't teaching wound evidence.


No, but those materials proved. So the prosecutor was premeditation. It was Brett's deadly homework.


But what about that last entry in her journal, the one that read like a final farewell?


Forged set the state by Brett thing is that the handwriting expert, it wasn't well done.


Look closely, he said that slight shakiness.


He called that the term we use in document tremor of fraud, the tremor of fraud.


And it appeared to the prosecution that Brek forged that note the day before Vashti died and the same day he was torching hard drives, the same day he asked a staff member of the training center where he could find an overhead projector, something so outdated it was in storage.


The prosecutor said it appeared Brett used the projection light to recreate Vashti's writing in the journal.


Some of his actions were reckless because the clock was winding down.


Vashti had told Brett you could stay in the house until noon Sunday. The prosecutor said she was planning to go out Saturday evening in Wichita and spent the night there.


Well, it's Friday. It's Friday evening. This was his last opportunity while they lived in the home together to kill Vashti.


Then there was a lack of evidence whether there should have been some. If this were a suicide, that is. Did you find any soot in the airways? No. Any soot in the lungs? No. The autopsy finding that Vashti Seacat had no soot in her lungs, in her airways, and that there was no carbon monoxide in her blood. That was a key piece of evidence for the prosecution because what it showed, what the jury could infer from that was that Vashti Seacat didn't breathing any smoke.


And if she didn't breathe in any smoke, the fire was set after she was dead, she was dead.


And something else, weird little detail.


And yet, according to the prosecution, it was telling when she died, Vashti's bladder was quite full.


There probably would have been a urinary urgency or the needing to go to the restroom.


And the importance of that for the evidence is that the claim from Brett Seacat is that Vashti is walking around the house, setting these fires, holding her breath, not breathing any smoke while she has a strong urge to urinate. That doesn't make sense. That's something that the jury needed to decide whether or not in their common sense and experience, whether they thought that made any sense at all.


Just another point to add to the unlikelihood of this whole story that he was telling. That's right. The claimed suicide weapon didn't make sense either, said the prosecutor, 44, Magnum Ruger. Redhawk such a big, heavy gun, she killed herself.


How was she able to get that heavy handgun up to her head and pull the trigger and do so in just the right downward angle that it slices right through her spinal cord and that there was some kick, some recoil to the gun? How did it end up completely underneath her body when she was sleeping on her side?


The prosecutors said the angle of the bullet proved one thing that's consistent with someone standing over her while she was sleeping, shooting her because.


So the prosecutor, because that's what he said he would do. Right. Not only woke Vashti up one night to tell her he had a dream, that he killed her, but friends and colleagues testified about what they told the KBI that in the weeks before she died, Vashti told them that incredibly, Brett threatened to kill her and burn the house down and make it look like suicide.


She said, Do you think Brett would burn the house down with me in it? And I I was taken aback by that. I said, not with the kids at home.


The tragedy was that the prosecutor, Vashti, didn't believe him either.


And so when those threats didn't work, he had to kill her to maintain control of her.


In other words, said the prosecutor planned premeditated murder. Looks bad for Brad, but then you haven't heard the bombshell the defense had in store. Vashti had confided in Brett that she had rekindled a romantic relationship that she was having with one of the executives at Cox Communication An Affair.


That wasn't the only surprise ahead. What other mistakes did they make? There's something about the investigation that.


Brett Seacat unable to pay a lawyer to represent. It was lucky in one particular way. His court appointed defense attorneys just happened to be veterans of murder cases.


Val walked away and Roger Faulk, who opened my grandmother, used to love to put together Jigsaw Puzzle, a man who understood perfectly well that the puzzle didn't always go together the way the prosecution tried to make it.


Look, there's a second side to this story, and that is that Vashti Seacat, depressed and confronted with either losing her career or staying in the marriage, decided instead to take her own life.


But why would she do that? Here came the bombshell.


Vashti had confided in Brett that she had rekindled a romantic relationship that she was having with one of the executives at Cox Communication.


Vashti claimed the defense was having an affair with a Cox vice president. And the evening before Vashti died, Brett gave her an ultimatum. Stay in the marriage or he had exposed her affair. That's right. Along with Brett vow to take the children, said the defense were the triggers that sent an already depressed woman over the edge.


She suffered from absolute depression.


What can depression lead you to among the various things that can go wrong? Suicide is one.


Under cross-examination by attorney walked to the couch, therapist testified that Vashti had a history of what she called depressive symptoms, starting when her brother died in an accident when she was young.


Major depressive disorder would be that occurring more than once for a longer period of time, possibly in a pattern.


And with regard to what you wrote down regarding Mrs. Seacat, were you describing a episode or a disorder?


I was describing that this was an episode, but there had been others prior.


A lot of folks think that if you were depressed a week ago, but you ain't been depressed since, you are cured now.


I got their expert to say that isn't the way it works, nor is it possible to anticipate if or when the depressed person might take their own life. And the therapist, even when someone is making future plans, as Vashti was, suicide is still possible, the defense argued. I knew they were about to say. It also wouldn't have been the first time for Vashti, or at least Brett was ready to claim she'd attempted suicide before Brett wanted to testify about the suicide attempts that Vashti had made on herself, some while they were married, some before.


Judge said, well, show me the evidence of this. And I we had looked and looked and looked and could not find the Australian records, couldn't find anything, couldn't find hospital records that far back.


But but that should be no surprise to anybody because hospitals don't keep records anymore.


Even so, a judge has ordered that Brett would not be allowed to make that claim in court. And what about the Post-it note found in Vashti's purse, the one that listed funeral expenses?


It could very well be that that is her figuring out what things cost and whether or not insurance is going to cover it. That's what I think it could be.


But who knows? Nobody knows. Prosecution does not. I don't know. But it has some significance, you think? What you certainly could you could portray it as being significant, right? You could also portray it as being a load of hogwash.


Right. But remember how the prosecution argued that Vashti's suicide note found in her journal was a forgery probably committed by Brett.


The defense had a handwriting expert of its own who concluded that Vashti did, in fact, write the note and read asking for that overhead projector at work hours before Vashti died, Attorney Wardo to cross-examine Brett's co-worker, the one who helped him find it.


And Mr. Seacat was not the least bit secretive when he asked you this question.


No, he was on and off he goes and asks someone to help him find an overhead projector. He those people take him up to where it is. He carries it down from there in full view of anybody who is possibly in that place and he carries it back.


Now, that sounds like somebody who didn't have anything to hide.


And what about the state's point that no soot was found at Vashti's lungs? Under cross-examination, the coroner allowed that it could be possible under the defense scenario that Vashti lit a fire just before killing herself.


If someone lit a fire and shot themselves within seconds, would you expect to see soot in their lungs?


Not necessarily.


Now, as for the PowerPoint found on the Seacat dining room table, the one that discussed homicide and suicide and fire investigations, meaning this is that the defense, what the prosecution would have you assume, right, is that this really, really smart cop was stupid enough to be looking at all of this stuff the night he tries to burn the house down, please.


I certainly wouldn't try to to hide evidence by setting a house four blocks from the fire department on fire and praying.


Right. That they would not get there until the whole thing had burned to the ground. That's silly.


It's just silly.


What's more, Brett said most of the PowerPoint printout had been in a tray in another room as scrap paper that the KBI must have moved those papers to the table just to make it look suspicious, like they made Bretz use of an overhead projector suspicious. And his destroying cell phones and computer hard drives seem suspicious. All too ridiculous, said the defense.


The state wanted you to believe that he was trying to destroy evidence of a crime. What evidence did he try to destroy? They never said what evidence he tried to destroy.


Now, this guy is such a such a super criminal that where does he go to destroy that?


He goes to the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, which is full of what, former cops, and he gets somebody to help him destroy those things that he wanted to destroy those things.


There are innumerable farm ponds.


If you wanted to get rid of that, you throw it into a farm pond and nobody will ever find it.


In fact, the state's whole investigation said the defense was at best incompetent, maybe worse. Bratten attorney walked to claimed that Vashti's car disappeared from the crime scene for three days, even though the entire Seacat yard was supposed to have been sealed off a crime scene. They showed the jury a series of photos taken from different vantage points, which the defense argued made it look like the car had been moved in the days after the fire, this neighbor lived right across the street from the Seacat driveway.


When you first observed the driveway, was the Volkswagen there? No, it was not. Now, do you remember seeing it in that driveway ever again?


No. Three days later. Three days later. But you didn't see if I understand your testimony, didn't see anybody bring it back? No, I think he was telling the truth.


If I thought he was lying and I wouldn't have put him on. To me, it implies that the investigation itself is faulty. How do you let somebody get into the crime scene and drive it away?


So it was either gross incompetence or intentional? My opinion would be as both.


And if that. Happen then, what other mistakes did they make?


There's something about the investigation that sticks just smelled bad, said Walkerville, that the state claimed it found gasoline on Brett's pants when the defense expert said, I would not make a determination that it's gasoline. And maybe worst of all, he said, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation did not even bother checking for gunshot residue to Brett's hands. Yes, the defense claimed would have revealed if he actually fired that gun that night.


If you've ever seen what that gun looks like, everything comes out the side of that cylinder. So that stuff goes somewhere. And and onto your skin is where you looking for it, and yet they didn't look, they didn't look. But these are he's a cop. They're a cop. Brett Seacat doesn't have much faith in the KBI, so called Brett Seacat to the wedding.


But the star witness for the defense would be the last witness, Brett Seacat himself. I didn't think it was appropriate to be dragging my wife's name through the mud. His story from the start is life on the line. In my heart of hearts, I know that Brett wanted to testify. If he wanted to, he had to. He believed that that if people just listened, the truth would out. You may come forward and be sworn, please, sir, it is.


Call it unusual for a defendant to testify at his own murder trial.


Dangerous, his lawyer might advise to subject himself to the aggressive questions of a skilled prosecutor.


But in my heart of hearts, I know that it wouldn't have made any difference what anybody said to Brett, because Brett wanted to testify.


He wanted to. He had to. He believed that that that if people just listened, the truth would out Mr. Seacat or you tell us your full name, please.


Brett Theodore Seacat at his own request. No video was taken of him.


Audio recording only as Brett set out with confidence to tell the jury what happened beginning 21 hours or so before the fire.


On that morning when I said goodbye, she said tonight and actually gave me a big kiss, which I thought was odd. Why'd you think that was odd?


Because in the last week, week and a half, we had been back and forth about 50 times on divorce. And so it just let me know that we were back on the not divorce track.


But by the time he returned to the house that evening, said Brett, things had changed.


I couldn't figure out why she was she was in a big hurry to get a divorce, which was something that had never happened before. I told her we haven't really worked on our marriage very much. My angle.


In the in the discussion was I'll give you a collaborative divorce. If we work on the marriage for three to six months, Brett said, Vashti seemed to agree to that, especially when he made it clear what he'd do if she went forward with the divorce. Right.


Then basically, I told her, if this goes to court, that. That I was going to do everything, everything in my power to. Destroyer Brad told the jury thinks he'd never told the KBI investigators that he threatened to share private photos of her and that Vashti had several recent affairs, including one with the executive at Cox, and that Brad threatened to expose her. As for why he didn't tell the KBI earlier about those alleged affairs, I didn't think it was appropriate to be dragging my wife's name through the mud.


As it was, Brad and his defense team didn't put on any evidence about an affair with the Cox executive or with anybody for that matter. And then his lawyer finished with the key questions.


Do you love Vashti? I love Vashti. Did you kill Vashti? No, I did not. Did you pull the trigger on the Ruger Redhawk that resulted in the bullet going through her neck and severing her spine? No, I did not. So his direct testimony, hours of it seemed to go pretty well. But now, of course, here came the prosecutor to put him on the spot. Cross-examination, Miss Hanley, she wanted Brett to explain.


Yes, I'm responsible for him to do what she thought was impossible. Make that 911 call and stay on the phone while trying to get Vashti's body out of a burning house.


That's a fair no. Oh, oh.


Look how he was able to make that call and talk to a dispatcher while he was supposedly running up and down the stairs twice in smoke and fire, wetting a rag, holding on to his phone. How he didn't drop the phone. Falkoff gasp Turn the waterfall. Sit on, grab the dishcloth. Yes, ma'am. You're holding your cell phone, too?


I don't think I'm holding it to my ear, but it's certainly still in my hand. While you're talking to 911 one at this time, right? Your ear, correct. It must have been to my ear. I just don't remember that element of it.


And then she asked him about the divorce.


Vashti wanted the divorce. Right.


And on which ten minutes you talk to her.


And when she told you that she was thinking about divorce, that's when you would threaten her. I'm sorry. When Vashti told you she wanted a divorce, you threatened her, wouldn't you? No, Vashti, never we talked about divorce a lot, but the first time that I found out Vashti wanted a divorce was when she told me that she had filed and then then pointblank she accused him of murder.


You threatened to kill Vashti, burn the house down and make it look like she committed a suicide.


I absolutely have never said anything even remotely like that.


You never made that threat to Vashti? Absolutely not.


You killed your wife, didn't you? No, ma'am. You shot her in the head. Impossible. You burn the house down around her. I would never burn our house. And you did it while your two kids, two years and four years old, were in the house? Absolutely not.


I would never expose my children in a situation like that.


The investigation was thorough in this case, and the KBI agents looked for any sign that would lead us to a different conclusion than that. Brett Seacat killed his wife and all the evidence that was uncovered and all the evidence presented at trial by both sides led to that conclusion.


Vashti's family was upset about things Brett said on the stand about Vashti's character, but they said they found his testimony revealing.


I was almost embarrassed that he was still claiming he was innocent. When there were just so many things that would have had to have lined up perfectly, that would have had to have been a fluke.


But Brett's brother, Bobby, felt the trial only confirmed what he had always believed. I left that courtroom one hundred percent convinced that he didn't do it up to the jury.


Now, your head spinning at that point because. Do you realize this is it, it's very scary. Double drama in the courtroom, the verdict. Ladies and gentlemen, have you reached the verdict? Yes, we have your answer. Something even the judge never saw coming.


You are going to hell for what you've done. Oh. There's no rule of thumb. Nothing works anyway to allow a person to successfully predict a jury's verdict based on the time it takes to make it. Brett, sickouts, jury deliberated six hours. What did that mean? Brother Bobby was nervous, of course, but had a good feeling.


I think that the state in every respect failed to prove and make their case.


Ladies and gentlemen, have you reached a verdict? Yes, we have, Your Honor. We, the jury, find the defendant, Brett Seacat, guilty of murder in the first degree. Guilty on all counts. The reaction in the courtroom was muted.


It was a strange mixture of emotions because there was this part of you that thought. When they say guilty. I'm just going to get all this off my chest and I'm going to feel good, but then there's this big part of you that realizes at the end of the day, it didn't bring her back. The truth is. Everybody was just as hurt, no one won. So you think, why am I not feeling better? Because what got better?


He is behind bars and he needs to be behind bars, but the lives that are affected will forever be affected.


That's lawyer Val Walkerville all but said I knew it because I don't think Mr. Seacat got a fair trial in Kingman, Kansas, and I will never think that.


But it was Brett who insisted on being tried in his home town and in his lawyer's view, he paid the price. I'm certainly not blaming the jury. Right.


It is just to me, became patently obvious that this jury did not exactly look kindly upon Mr. Seacat.


It was going to be an uphill battle, uphill battle before we even got started.


Yeah, but Agent Feleti. So I things very differently indeed.


I believe Mr. Seacat believed that whole house was going to go up in flames and law enforcement and fire were not going to find very much there and that he knew this local police department and they probably would just think it was what he said it was and going about their business. But the Kingman Police Department and the sheriff's office called in other agencies to assist. And fortunately for Vashti and her family, we were able to find evidence to convict him of these charges.


But Brett Seacat is an unusual man, adamant that he is innocent, certain that he was set up by the state, which was out to get him by in-laws who didn't like him and even by the judge, in fact, particularly the judge, which became abundantly clear at Brett's sentencing when seemingly out of the blue, Brett lashed out with a truly remarkable incendiary venomous attack against Judge Sullivan. This day belongs to you, Judge Solomon. This is your day.


This is the day you get to take your place in front of the cameras and pass sentence on a man you work so hard to convict, a man you know was innocent, but a man you had to help convict so you could get this day, your day. So go ahead and collect the 30 pieces of silver, Solomon. Go ahead and sell custody of my little boys to Vashti's family. Go ahead and pass a sentence you think will land you a spot on the Kansas Supreme Court.


Go ahead and pass the sentence that guarantees your spot in jail. Just like Amy Handly, Jeff Newsome and those 12 jurors. You are going to hell for what you've done. In this case. Your corrupt decisions will bring an appeal. The evidence will be presented and I will be free. And with that, I'll step aside and let you have your day. After all, you purchased it with your soul, so you've earned it. What did you make of that of his statement?


I like the fact that he said what he thought. When you believe you are innocent. Why not say you are innocent? Why not save what you think was wrong?


You say it because it isn't going to make any difference, did it?


Here's how the judge responded.


I heard a few things I didn't anticipate. I won't bother addressing them because they're so bizarre, they don't deserve a response, they merely affirm to me that a jury of 12 Kingman County citizens made the appropriate decision in this case. You claim to be Vashti's protector and in the next breath on the stand, said the evening in question, you would destroy her. At trial, you made every effort possible to drag her name and her memory and her reputation through the mud.


Vashti was not indecisive about divorcing you. She was not depressed and she was not suicidal. The families hit it on the head. So did several witnesses at trial about you being arrogant, about you being controlling, about you being self-centered and narcissistic. You live in some sort of bizarre alternate reality. You have an admitted guilt, you have an admitted responsibility. And you didn't this morning even expressed remorse. That fast is no longer on this earth. And with that, he sentenced Brett Seacat to the maximum allowed under Kansas law.


He'll serve 30 years before his first shot at parole. Now, another once graceful home has been torn down. The reputation of Brett's family, a family of law men, is tarnished. And the Seacat sons are growing up without either parent and will have the heavy burden of knowing their father was convicted of killing their mother, Vashti. The woman named for a queen. I miss her every day, you know, just dumb things like seeing a dragonfly or fireworks or something.


It will it will not go away. I hope that I figure out what my new life is going to look like at some point, and I can accept it. But with time. They say it gets better. I just think. I just hope it does. I'm Trymaine Lee, host of Into America, a podcast from MSNBC. Join me as we go into the roots of inequality and economic injustice and racial injustice.


And then when you add health is a health injustice into what's at stake, people are going to be voting not for a person, but for stability and into what comes next into America, a podcast about who we are as Americans and who we want to become. New episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.


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