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Brett Seacat's bond set at $1 million accused of killing his wife

May 14, 2011|By Kim Hynes & Kim Wilhelm | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

KINGMAN, Kan. — Handcuffed and shackled, Brett Seacat made his way from the Kingman County jail to the court house.  There he stood in front of judge Larry Solomon and listened to the charges against him.  He showed little emotion, bowing his head a few times.  Seacat faces four charges, 1st degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangerment of a child.

Seacat is accused of killing his wife Vashti on April 30th and setting their home on fire with their two sons inside.  Since the boys were home during the fire, Seacat is charged with endangering their lives.  Brett and the two boys did make it out safely, but Vashti died inside.  It has not been released how Vashti died or how the fire started.   Two days before the fire, Vashti served Brett with divorce papers.  

After reading the charges, Judge Solomon asked if Seacat wanted a public defender.  "At this point I should apply for a court appointed attorney and reserve right to seek independent counsel," Seacat answered the judge.  

The judge then set Seacat's bond at $1 million.  "Am I allowed at this point to address the bond," Seacat asked the judge. The judge responded he wasn't willing to lower it at this time.  Once Seacat has an attorney, he says they can file a motion and discuss whether to lower the bond.

During the hearing, Seacat's parents and brother sat in the gallery showing support for him.  No one with Vashti's family was in court.  Afterwards, his father Lott Seacat told Eyewitness News his son is innocent and they will find a way to prove it.  Seacat's next court appearance, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 26th.  But the judge said it will likely be postponed.

Before his arrest Seacat was on funeral leave from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center where he worked as an instructor.  The director says Seacat is now on paid administrative leave pending the resolution of the criminal justice system.  The KLETC director Ed Pavey says they will continue to review his status as more information becomes available.  Before going to work for the training center, Seacat worked for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department.

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Saturday May 14, 2011

Brett Seacat, a law enforcement instructor and former sheriff's deputy sits in jail for the murder of his wife, Vashti. Seacat is charged with first degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangering a child. Last month, Vashti was found dead inside their burned Kingman home. Brett and the couple's two children made it out of the home safely. Vashti had served Brett with divorce papers two days before her death.

Seacat was a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy for nearly ten years. He now teaches police work at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Retired FBI agent Dan Jablonski is not involved in this case but says it's not unusual to wonder if and how Seacat's background plays into the crime.

"How a person with a law enforcement background might pull off a crime having knowledge of the law enforcement world and how they operate," said Jablonski.

"You take that into account but you approach everyone the same."

Seacat is not only charged with his wife's murder but also with setting their home on fire. Jablonski says arson investigation is a specialized area - not something a typical law officer may know about.

"If a fire was set intentionally and they can prove that then that is a big, big question mark," said Jablonski.Rich Forrest is Vashti's brother. He says after his sister's death, the family did think about Brett's law enforcement background. "

That goes through your mind albeit briefly," said Forrest. Forrest says the family has full trust in the investigation."

Do we know as much as we like to know? Absolutely not. But do I think there's a reason that the KBI and various law enforcement agencies have for us not knowing? Absolutely."

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Brett Seacat, a law enforcement instructor and former sheriff's deputy sits in jail for the murder of his wife, Vashti.  Seacat is charged with first degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangering a child. Last month, Vashti was found dead inside their burned Kingman home.  Brett and the couple's two children made it out of the home safely.  Vashti had served Brett with divorce papers two days before her death. 

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