Dateline   |  October 12, 2013

'Burning Suspicion' part 11

The verdict - and surprising events at the sentencing.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> there's no rule of thumb , nothing that works anyway, to allow a person to successfully predict a jury's verdict based on the time it takes to make it. brett seacat 's 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 t. 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 it affected will forever be affected.

>> his lawyer 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 hometown and in his lawyer's view, he paid the price.

>> certainly not blaming the jury, right? it 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 before we got started.

>> agent falletti saw 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 go on about their business. but the kingman police department and the sheriff's office called in other agencies for assist. fortunately for vashti 's family we found evidence to convict him of these charges.

>> but he's adamant that he's 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 attack against the judge.

>> this day belongs to you judge solomon . this is your day. this is a day you get to take your place in front of the cameras and pass sentence on a man you worked 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, judge solomon , go ahead and sell custody of my little boys to vashti 's family. go ahead and pass sentence you think will land you a spot on the kansas supreme court , pass a sentence that guarantees your spot in hell just like amy hanley and the 12 jurors. your corrupt decisions will brianna peel. evidence will be presented and i will be freed. 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 liked the fact that he said what he thought.

>> when you believe you are innocent, why not say you are innocent? why not say what you think was wrong? 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 family's 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 haven't admitted guilt, you haven't admitted responsibility. you didn't this morning even express remorse that vashti is no longer on this earth.

>> and with that, he sentenced brett seacat to the maximum allowed under kansas law. he'll serve more than 30 years before his first shot at parole. he's appealing his conviction.

>>> and now, now their once graceful home has been torn down. the reputation of brett 's family, a family of lawmen is tarnished. the seacat 's 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. just dumb things, like seeing a dragonfly or fireworks or something. 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.

>> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll be back again next friday at 9:00,