|Seaman could be sentenced to 21.5 years|
A Stone County man has pleaded guilty to the 2006 murder of David Dulin.
Tim Seaman, 37, of Crane, pleaded guilty to amended charges of second-degree murder for the November 29, 2006 shooting death of 53 year-old Dulin. Seaman was originally charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and robbery.
The case in Dulin's murder has taken many twists and turns in the five years since it was committed.
In 2008, Zackary Lee Stewart, of Hurley, was tried and convicted in Greene County of first-degree murder for Dulin's murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
During Stewart's trial a key piece of evidence was questioned by Dulin's family. Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby said a bloody hat recovered at the crime scene belonged to Dulin. Family members approached Selby and told him they had never seen their loved one in possession of the hat.
|Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby|
Selby expedited DNA analysis on the hat in the middle of Stewart's trial. When the preliminary analysis came back it was a bombshell. It connected DNA to three people other than Stewart; Dulin, Stewart's brother-in-law Tim Seaman, and another unknown person.
During closing arguments in Stewart's trial, Selby argued that the preliminary DNA information from the bloody hat reflected a DNA "hit" to Seaman made by an investigative database. He stressed that it was not a DNA "match" confirmed by comparing it with Seaman's actual DNA.
Seaman's DNA was in the CODIS database because of previous convictions of leaving the scene of an accident and property damage. According to online court records, Seaman has also pleaded guilty to assault, trespass, possession of marijuana, operating a vehicle without a license and not paying child support.
The Missouri Supreme Court reversed Stewart's conviction in 2010. He was scheduled to be retried for Dulin's murder on February 14, 2011, however Selby announced on December 3rd of 2010 that he was dismissing those charges saying he'd received "more information" about Dulin's death.
That information came from John Mills. Mills was being held in the Stone County jail on weapons charges when he was offered immunity for his testimony against Seaman.
|John Mills was offered immunity for his testimony|
Mills told investigators that he and Seaman had been out partying when they made the decision to rob someone so they could buy drugs. On their way to rob Dulin, the pair stopped at Mills' home and got a gun, according to statements made in court today by Selby.
Selby offered Mills immunity while he was preparing for the new trial (clarification: it was Stewart's trial he was preparing for,) believing he could provide evidence that could help convict Seaman. Instead, Mills shocked Selby and his office investigator when he revealed he was one of the men that took part in killing Dulin.
“That was a bombshell,” Selby said. “We thought that he had some knowledge, but in no way did I think he was a participant. It's an ironclad deal unless we find he wasn't completely truthful with us.”
Shortly after midnight on November 29, 2006, Dulin called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher that two men in their 20's and 30's had broken into his home and shot him in the head with his own .22 pistol.
|Dave Dulin's house on Tin Can Hollow|
Dulin had been shot twice in the head and twice in the torso and as he lay dying in his home at 403 Tin Can Hollow he told the 9-1-1 operator that he did not know who shot him, but stated that the assailants were from Hurley and that one of the men was the "Eby girl's boyfriend."
Seaman was married, but separated from, Candy Eby-Seaman at the time of Dulin's murder.
According to the probable cause statement filed with the murder charge against Seaman, "A black semi automatic Walther that belonged to Dulin was missing from Dulin's home."
A gun that was recovered during an investigation in Springfield on February 17, 2007, was sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab for testing. Shell casings found near Dulin's body matched the gun recovered in Springfield.
On August 20, 2008, Detective Karl Wagner interviewed a man from Hurley who told him, "He had purchased a black .22 with a laser light on it from Timothy in the fall about two years earlier....after David's murder."
In court today it was revealed that when someone asked Seaman what was wrong with Mills the day after Dulin's murder he stated, "We were there when the old man was killed and he's not handling it very well. You don't know what it's like to kill someone or be responsible for their death."
"I think it was important for the victim's family and for our community to finally hear someone take responsibility for Mr. Dulin's death," said Selby.
Seaman's attorney, Chris Hatley said, "Mills was their best piece of evidence. My client was looking at the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole so that factored into our decision to accept the plea bargain."
For Kathleen Dulin-Ellerman there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't think of her brother, " I'm still waiting for justice. It's been a long hard five years.
Mills is facing up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced for the weapons charge on April 26th in Stone County.
When Seaman pleaded guilty it was revealed that there was a plea agreement to a cap (total) of 21 and-a-half years for the plea, however, a judge is not bound by the agreement and could sentence Seaman to a greater term on May 11th.
He will have to serve 85% before of whatever sentence is he given before he is eligible for parole.