KINGMAN, Kansas -- A former deputy and police instructor returned to court in Kingman with his lawyers questioning the training of one of the top investigators in the state.
Brett Seacat's attorneys were able to convince the judge to keep KBI agent Corey Latham from testifying as an expert and concluding on the stand that Seacat likely shot his estranged wife Vashti days after she filed for a divorce before setting her home on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence.
We realize of course that all evidence is somehow prejudicial," said defense attorney John Val Wachtel. "This is extremely prejudicial."
Prosecutors wanted Latham to share his expert opinion with jurors hoping he could provide some clarity to the jury in a complicated case.
"This case is circumstantial," said prosecutor Amy Hanley. "There's not direct evidence. There's no eyewitnesses, and the jury doesn't have expertise."
Seacat is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and child endangerment. His 34-year-old wife was found dead with a gunshot wound in the neck after a fire at their home in April 2011.
The defense theory is that Vashti Seacat set the home on fire with her two young boys sleeping down the hall and then killed herself.
Latham will still be allowed to testify. He just will not be allowed to share the conclusions of his investigation with jurors.
Brett Seacat's parents and Vashti's brother were in court for the proceedings.
Vashti's family says they just want the case to conclude. It's now been over a year and a half since Vashti died.
"It's very painful because this is a chapter of our lives - believe it or not - we want to close," said Rich Forrest.
Seacat's trial is expected to begin in May.