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Family of Vashti Seacat reacts to 'Hard 50' development

It's been almost a month since Brett Seacat was transferred from jail to prison, to serve more than 30 years for murdering his wife and setting their Kingman home on fire.

That's not nearly enough time for Vashti Seacat's family to move on.

"There's a lot of pain," said her sister, Kathleen Forrest. "It doesn't just bounce back. I'm shocked how long it takes."

Forrest says the family is also frustrated that Seacat couldn't get the maximum sentence - the "Hard 50." Prosecutors dropped the Hard 50 because of a Supreme Court ruling that says only a jury can hand down that sentence.

Kansas law currently allows a judge to do that. That discrepancy led to a special session in the Kansas Legislature. Tuesday, lawmakers introduced a bill to change the law.

But Forrest doesn't think juries should make that decision.

"There was a lot that the judge was privy to that the jurors weren't," she said. "... It was a bit frustrating."

Seacat was sentenced to life without parole for 25 years for the murder, as well as extra time on other counts. Forrest said the sentence is bittersweet. There are no winners, particularly the couple's young sons.

"The boys, for the rest of their life, will go through that and always ask about mommy and daddy," she said. "So it doesn't go away."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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