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Ex-cop who murdered wife gets life in prison

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Tue August 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A jury convicted Brett Seacat of first-degree murder in June
  • He killed his wife and tried to cover it up by burning down their house
  • A judge sentences him to life in prison with the possibility of parole

(CNN) -- The former cop who killed his wife and tried to cover it up by burning down their house was sentenced Monday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Judge Larry Solomon's sentencing decision comes nearly two months after a Kansas jury convicted Brett Seacat of first-degree murder for killing his wife, Vashti Seacat.

"You haven't admitted guilt. You haven't admitted responsibility, and you didn't this morning even express remorse that Vashti's no longer on this earth," Solomon said. "One of the victim's family asked me to show you no mercy, and I don't intend to show you any mercy. You didn't show Vashti any mercy on April 30, 2011."

Under the judge's sentence -- the maximum allowable under Kansas law -- Seacat must spend 31 years and three months behind bars before he's eligible for parole.

Cop accused of killing wife: 'She just seemed... sad, upset'

Ex-cop's odd reaction to wife's death

At Monday's hearing, Vashti Seacat's family members asked the judge to give the maximum sentence and condemned the man who murdered her.

Brett Seacat maintained his innocence, accused the judge of conspiring to convict him and said the jurors were going to hell for their decision.

"I teach about crimes," Seacat said. "I know what covers up crimes and what doesn't. I know that a bullet hole has never been covered up by a fire. I know that a murder has never been concealed by means of fire. I wouldn't have lit a fire to try to cover this up."

His attorneys said they planned to appeal the judge's decision.

Prosecution undercuts handwriting expert

In June, a jury deliberated for six hours before deciding Seacat's fate.

During her closing argument, prosecutor Amy Hanley said Seacat was full of uncontrollable rage because his wife had filed for divorce and was kicking him out their house.

"He was like a burning fuse," said Hanley. "That's why he was reckless."

Throughout the trial, Seacat maintained his innocence. Defense attorney Roger Falk said that Vashti Seacat killed herself because she was depressed due to a side effect of her medication.

At Monday's sentencing, Solomon said Seacat's guilt was "overwhelming."

"Evidence to support your defense of suicide was totally unbelievable and totally unsupported by any credible evidence," he said.

HLN's Graham Winch contributed to this report.

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