GREELEY — After more than two years since he was arrested on double-murder charges, Kevin Dean Eastman, 50, finally faced 16 of his peers on Tuesday, as the 9-woman, 7-man jury heard opening arguments and testimony from 10 prosecution witnesses, who laid the ground work in what prosecutors calls a “lay-in-wait” style murder of one victim, and a close-range execution of another.
“These hands,” said prosecutor Yvette Guthrie in opening statements as she showed a picture of Eastman’s hands taken some time after he was arrested. “These hands brought danger, destruction and death.”
Prosecution says case about domestic violence
Guthrie told the jury that Eastman killed Stanley Scott Sessions, 53 at the time of his death, and Heather Frank, 48 at the time of her death in the name of jealousy and control. Frank and Eastman had dated on and off for seven years in what even the defense attorney agreed was a toxic relationship full of substance abuse and violence.
“Power, control, coercion and revenge, at its very core, this case is about domestic violence,” Guthrie said. “He didn’t want to lose Heather Frank, and because of that, two people lost their lives.”
Eastman was arrested in February 2020, 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.
Multiple issues caused the delay in his prosecution. But after a week and nearly 400 possible jurors interviewed, the trial is expected to last three weeks with somewhere around 100 witnesses and more than 1,000 pages, videos and pictures offered as evidence.
Eastman was originally arrested by Larimer County Sheriff deputies in connection with the killing of Sessions, who 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 on Feb. 16. It is believed that Sessions’ death occurred Feb. 8, 2020 at the home of Frank.
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 the Kersey location.
Defense paints a different picture
Defense attorney Samantha Deveraux, however, painted a different picture for the jury. One in which Frank did not appear interested in dating Sessions and hinting that the defense’s case would show it was actually Frank that killed Sessions.
“She does not acknowledge Scott Sessions’ prior messages,” Deveraux said about the communication between the two via Facebook messenger. “She does not indicate that she also had a good time with him (on the couple’s first date). Nor does she indicate any interest in going to (another event with Sessions) on Feb. 6. “Just two days later, Ms. Frank’s cold, disinterested and active avoidance of Mr. Sessions suddenly flips.”
Deveraux goes on to tell the jury that Frank invited Sessions to her house on Feb. 8 despite showing no interest in him prior.
“The once completely unresponsive Ms. Frank is now eager for Mr. Sessions to come over to her residence” Deveraux said. “Ms. Frank planned for Mr. Sessions to come to her residence that evening. Mr. Frank initiated Mr. Sessions to hurry up and come over, and Ms. Frank is the one who waited for Mr. Sessions to come over.”
The details by Deveraux were magnified as prosecutors told the jury that Sessions was jumped immediately upon entering Frank’s house, and a knife taken to his throat in such a violent action that it severed his spinal column, causing Sessions’ blood to soak through the carpet, the padding and into the wood.
“There was so much (expletive) blood,” Eastman told investigators after he was arrested.
Deveraux also told the jury there is no evidence “whatsoever” that can connect her client to the Frank murder. No weapon, no witnesses, no blood, nothing.
Prosecutors, however, say they caught Eastman preparing to burn Frank’s body at the home of a friend of Eastman’s, similar to how they believe he burned Sessions’ body. When he was arrested, Eastman was found with five 22-caliber bullets (two spent) in his pockets.
Frank died of two, 22-caliber shots to the chest.
The day’s testimony
Most of the day was spent with testimony by various Larimer County Sheriff’s officers discussing the day of the crime and the ensuing investigation leading up to Eastman’s arrest.
The jury heard details about tracking Eastman and Frank for several days after Sessions’ body was found, how Frank continued to go to work, get her hair fixed and go shopping. They also heard how the two were together when Sessions’ body was left on the side of the road up the Poudre Canyon and set on fire.
Deputies and investigators explained how they used nearby surveillance cameras, GPS trackers and other equipment to make the case for Eastman’s arrest.
But Deveraux called it a “hunch that turned into an assumption.”
“And that assumption was that Mr. Eastman was the type of person who was violent in the past with a partner so he would be violent with anyone in the future,” Deveraux said. “That assumption was that Mr. Eastman was the type of person who was abusive in the past, so he would be the type of person to be jealous in the future. … But these assumptions like most were inaccurate and not based on actualities.
Complete Colorado has been following this case since Sessions’ body was initially found. All past stories can be found here. Complete Colorado will continue to follow the case. The trial is being live streamed here.
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