GREELEY — A Greeley man charged in the double-murder of a beloved local jazz musician and a woman he was dating is on track to finally go to trial after nearly two and one-half years of delays.
The jury selection of 12 members and four-alternates who will decide the fate of Kevin Dean Eastman beings June 27 in Weld District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow’s courtroom. The trial is expected to last four weeks, with more than 90 witnesses being called by the prosecution alone.
At a pretrial readiness conference on Thursday, prosecutors and attorneys for Eastman agreed on several housekeeping measures pertaining to the trial. Such as size of jury pool, numbers of alternates, how many peremptory challenges both sides had (a peremptory challenge allows an attorney to dismiss a juror with no reason), and how long opening and closing remarks would last – 60 minutes and two hours, respectively.
By the time the trial starts, Eastman will be in custody at the Weld County jail for more than two years since he was first arrested for the brutal murders of Scott Sessions, 53 at the time of his death, and Heather Frank, 48 at the time of her death, in what prosecutors say appears to have been a love-triangle.
The court will call about 125 people per day for three days from June 27 to June 29 to begin the process of seating a jury. After the initial narrowing-down of potential jurors through a predetermined set of questions, a smaller pool of people will return on June 30 and possibly July 1 for more questions and to seat the final 12 jurors and four alternates selected.
The trial will take a month because of thousands of pages of evidence, pictures and videos as well as testimony.
Eastman was formally charged on April 1, 2021 in the deaths of Sessions and Frank in February 2020. Eastman was the estranged boyfriend of Frank.
During a preliminary hearing in October 2020, 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.
Eastman was arrested on 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. The weapon charge will be prosecuted in a separate trial at the conclusion of the murder trial.
Eastman appeared Thursday via Webex, a video conferencing system used by Weld District Court throughout COVID 19 closures. It was the first time since his arrest that he appeared without a mask. He appeared to have put on weight and fidgeted throughout the hearing, at times appearing to talk to himself and laughing nervously.
Kopcow said on Thursday that Eastman’s trial will not allow the Webex option, saying he was frustrated with the number of times those calling in failed to mute themselves and feared it would disrupt the process.
He also said he was concerned about witnesses under a sequestration order being able to access the trial against his order. At one point during a previous hearing Kopcow had to ask a witness twice not to be online.
All COVID restrictions at the Weld Courthouse have been lifted, and the trial will be moved from Kopcow’s Division 16 chambers to Division 11 to accommodate more people. The trial is expected to draw many spectators as Sessions was a Greeley native and popular jazz musician, known statewide.
Eastman was originally arrested by Larimer County Sheriff deputies in connection with the killing of Sessions. Sessions was found dead near Old Flowers and Pingree Park roads in Bellvue, northwest of Fort Collins on Feb. 10, 2020. Sessions had not been seen since Feb. 8, 2020 when he told his father he was going to Fort Collins to see a friend.
Nearly a week after Sessions’ body was discovered, 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. It is believed that Sessions’ death occurred Feb. 8, 2020. Frank’s body was found on Feb. 16, 2020 at a separate location.
Eastman was arrested in Kersey at a gas station filling a gas container on Feb. 16th. Frank’s body was found in a wood pile nearby a smoldering burn pit at a home in Kersey.
Complete Colorado has been following this case since Sessions body was initially found. All past stories can be found here.
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