GREELEY — The man accused of killing two Greeley residents will next appear in court on Oct. 15 for a preliminary hearing after the judge in his case refused to grant his public defenders another extension to the status hearing.
Kevin Dean Eastman, 48, appeared in Weld District Court via video from the Weld County Jail, where he is being held without bail. Complete Colorado attended the hearing via Webex Video Conferencing.
Eastman’s public defender, Ashley Morriss, who also appeared via video, continued to argue that the overwhelming amount of evidence was too much for her and her co-counsel to address privately with their client because of COVID-19, and that both attorneys are pregnant.
However, both the district attorney’s office and the father of one of the victims said it was time to move forward. District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow said he was trying to balance the fairness of the defense team having enough time to review the evidence and not pushing the trial any further out than necessary.
Kopcow reminded Morriss, after she continued to push for another continuance, that case law does not require that she have all the discovery before the preliminary hearing. A previous hearing revealed that a conservative estimate of the amount of evidence in this case is nearly 3,000 paper files, and more than 200 digital files. The digital files contain numerous items per file, for example, 800-plus photos in one file and 600-plus photos in another.
“This case is over four months old and we need to move forward,” Kopkow said. “I understand, and I’ve been very flexible because of voluminous discovery but we need to move forward on this case. I suspect the victims’ representatives want to see some type of movement on this case.”
Kopcow said he believes setting the preliminary hearing out to October is a fair compromise.
“If you want to appear by Web Ex for the hearing you certainly can do that to avoid any type of medical concerns, but we are going to set this for a hearing,” Kopcow said.
Eastman was originally arrested in Larimer County in connection with the death of 53-year-old Greeley musician Stanley Scott Sessions. Sessions was found dead near Old Flowers and Pingree Park roads in Bellvue, northwest of Fort Collins on Feb. 10. Sessions had not been seen since Feb. 8 when he told his father he was going to Fort Collins to see a friend.
Nearly a week after Sessions’ body was discovered, 48-year-old Greeley resident Heather Frank was found dead at a home east of Greeley, just off U.S. 34 in Kersey. It is unknown why Frank was at that location, or how long she had been dead. Sessions’ death occurred between Feb. 8-10, and Frank’s death occurred on either Feb. 15 or 16.
Frank, who was alive between five- and eight-days following Sessions’ death, had a warrant for her arrest for 1st Degree murder at the time of her death. That warrant was issued in connection with the killing of Sessions. It is unknown what role, if any, Frank played in Sessions’ death.
Frank’s body was found while Weld County Sheriff deputies were assisting Larimer County Sheriff deputies execute a search warrant at the home in conjunction with the Sessions case.
Eastman was eventually charged for both killings in Weld County. He was charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder, two counts of tampering with a deceased human body, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
Based on social media accounts, Sessions and Frank appeared to know each other; however, no one close to Sessions knew Frank or were aware of a friendship outside of social media between the two.
Sessions’ father, Stan Sessions, asked the judge to continue to move forward, calling it a drain on his family. He asked if the current attorneys were unable to fulfill their duties that he consider replacing them. Kopcow said appointing new attorneys would further delay the proceedings.
“I know the wheels of justice turn slow, but this is starting to be a burden on the family,” Sessions said. “We will accept Oct. 15 as we have no choice in it, but I would urge the court to judiciously proceed as this open-ending is a burden on all of the victims.”