GREELEY — The man accused of murdering two Greeley residents nearly a year ago, will get a second competency evaluation after his attorney’s requested a private evaluation at his latest hearing Monday morning.
Attorneys for Kevin Dean Eastman filed a motion on Dec. 4 claiming Eastman was not competent to proceed with his criminal trial. Eastman was originally scheduled to be arraigned on formal charges in the murders of Scott Sessions and Heather Frank on Dec. 7.
Weld District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow, however, ordered an evaluation at that time and set the date for a competency hearing for Jan. 11. That date was pushed back to Jan 25 after a COVID-19 concern in the county jail that prevented Eastman from appearing. The evaluation will eventually determine if proceedings will continue or if Eastman will be ordered to receive psychological treatment, instead.
On Monday, Eastman’s attorney asked for a second opinion by a private evaluator. There was no indication given in court as to why a second opinion was warranted, but Complete Colorado learned from those close to the trial that the first evaluation, done by the state, did not support incompetency.
Kopcow agreed to the second opinion as a matter of law but cautioned Eastman’s attorneys to make sure whomever they hire was approved by Kopcow first, and that they could work within the 35 days allowed by law.
Once the 35 days is up, there is another seven days allowed for attorneys to complete the necessary paperwork. Kopcow set a status hearing for 8:15 a.m., March 9, 13 months after Sessions and Frank were killed.
A relative of Sessions, speaking on behalf of his family said although the delay is frustrating, he knows the process is crossing every T and dotting every I to make sure that when it’s all done, there is nothing that kept Eastman from a fair trial.
Complete Colorado is not identifying the man to protect his privacy.
“It’s frustrating that it’s taking this long,” the family member said. “We know (Eastman) is getting extraordinary treatment. But it’s state law, and the defense is just doing its job. We don’t like that it’s taking so long but frontier justice and the ‘hang him high’ days happened 150 years ago. The guy is not going anywhere. We just have to let the process play out.”
Eastman has been held in the Weld County jail since February of 2020 on multiple charges in the deaths of Sessions, a Greeley jazz musician, and a woman Sessions appears to have been dating.
During a preliminary hearing in October, prosecutors called the murder of Sessions an “ambush,” “a lie-in-wait” style murder and the subsequent murder of Frank as the need for Eastman to silence the only witness to Sessions’ murder.
Kopcow held Eastman over for trial on seven felony counts, including 1st degree murder.
It was expected that Eastman would enter a plea of not guilty and waive his right to a speedy trial because both of his public defenders are due to be on maternity leave until the end of March 2021.
Eastman’s preliminary hearing was spread out over two days, including 8 hours of testimony into the evidence against the 48-year-old.
Eastman was originally arrested by Larimer County Sheriff deputies in connection with the killing of 54-year-old 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, the 48-year-old Frank was found dead. Eastman was arrested in Kersey at a gas station filling a gas container on the same day Frank’s body was found in a wood pile near a smoldering burn pit at a home in Kersey.
Eastman, who appears in Weld District Court via video from the Weld County Jail, where he has been held without bail since his arrest, is 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.
Sessions was killed by a sharp forced object to the neck and then his body burned. Frank died from two close-range gunshot wounds.
Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.
CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.