A former Kansas police officer on trial for his wife’s alleged slaying said Friday he threatened to "destroy her" the night before her death in April of 2011.
Brett Seacat has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Vashti Seacat, whose body was found in the couple's Kansas home. He claims Vashti committed suicide after setting their home on fire.
Brett Seacat's testimony marked his second day on the stand. He said the couple was arguing about their pending separation the night before Vashti's death.
“I told her if this goes to court, that I was going to do everything in my power to destroy her,” said Seacat.
He said he threatened Vashti Seacat with three things: He would expose her alleged affairs with a supervisor and vice president at her company, he would make sure she never saw their kids again and he would publish “private” photographs of her.
Seacat went on to tell jurors in vivid detail Friday what happened the night his wife died:
He says he was sleeping downstairs on the couch when Vashti called him, saying, "You need to come get the boys or they’re going to get hurt."
Seacat said he looked out the window to see if Vashti had taken the boys in her car and then heard a "loud creak" coming from the ceiling below the master bedroom. As he headed toward the stairs, he said, he heard the first pop or bang and sprinted up to the second floor.
There were flames in front of the master bedroom door, which was closed, according to Seacat. He said he rushed in and saw Vashti flat on her back on the bed. He said he tried lifting her up and noticed the blood.
"Then everything just sort of hit me -- I guess my mind caught up with me," said Seacat. “I still remember it as clearly as that night. I heard my voice in my head just say, 'Dead.' Then all of a sudden it just hit me -- I just ran past fire, house is on fire, boys – it all just came to me.”
Seacat said he went into the boys' room, scooped them up, brought them downstairs, buckled them in the car and called 911. The cell phone was in his hand the entire time, Seacat said, and connected to a call with Vashti's cell phone.
All of this had to happen in the span of just a few minutes. Vashti's cell phone called Brett Seacat's cell phone at 3:51 a.m. By 3:58 a.m., he said, he was getting off the phone with his parents and police were arriving on scene.
The marriage counselor who helped the Seacats in the months before the incident testified earlier in the trial that she spoke to Brett Seacat a few hours after Vashti’s death and that he told her: "I killed her, Vashti is dead and it’s my fault."
But Seacat said on Friday that while he did admit he was the reason Vashti died, he never said he killed her.
“It was my fault. For 19 years I was the one who protected Vashti and finally I pushed her into what I was supposed to be protecting her from,” said Seacat.
Seacat then insinuated Vashti had made suicide attempts in the past. “On several occasions I had stopped Vashti from doing something that I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about,” he said. The prosecutor immediately objected to this statement and the judge told jurors to disregard it.
During cross-examination, the prosecutor tried poking holes in Seacat's story, especially when it came to the overhead projector he borrowed the day before Vashti's death.
Prosecutors have suggested Seacat used it to forge Vashti's suicide note. He said he was working on a fraud exercise and that a newer electronic projector wouldn't magnify the image like he needed it to. He testified on Thursday that he never even turned the machine on.
Prosecutor Amy Hanley brought a projector to the witness stand and asked Seacat to demonstrate exactly how he used it that day.
"When you hold items underneath, it should magnify," said Seacat, referring to the head of the projector.
"Is there a magnifying glass that you can see?" Hanley asked.
"Not anymore ma’am," said Seacat.
"But there was one when you used it?" Hanley asked.
"Oh yes," said Seacat.
The defense rested its case Friday after Seacat finished his testimony. Prosecutors said they didn't have any rebuttal evidence to present. Jurors will hear closing arguments on Monday and then begin deliberating the case.