Brett Seacat Trial: Ex-Cop Convicted of Murdering Wife in Kansas

06/11/2013 at 05:00 PM EDT

Brett Seacat Convicted of Killing Wife in Kansas
Brett and Vashti Seacat
Wichita Eagle/MCT/Landov
A jury in Kansas spent less than a day in deliberations before finding former sheriff's deputy Brett Seacat guilty of murdering his wife Vashti and setting fire to their home to try to hide the evidence.

Seacat, 37, of Kingman, Kan., was convicted of all four counts he faced: first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangering a child in the April 30, 2011, death of his wife, 16 days after she filed for divorce.

Prosecutors will seek a sentence of 50 years in prison at a hearing Aug. 5.

Jurors began deliberations Monday night, deciding whether Vashti Seacat committed suicide, leaving behind her two children, or whether her husband brutally murdered her over the threatened loss of their marriage by shooting her in the head and setting the house on fire.

Taking the stand for just over a full day last week, Brett portrayed himself as a loving husband and father to two boys, then ages 2 and 4, who was burdened by his wife's desire to break up. He continued to share their home after Vashti filed for divorce, and said he urged additional counseling to smooth the rupture.

"I would never burn our house," he said under questioning from the prosecutor. "I would never expose my children to any situation like that."

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