ANGLETON — A Brazoria County jury took 30 minutes to convict Frank Seidule of murder for fatally shooting roommate Lewis Watson.
Seidule claimed the seven shots it took to kill Watson, the last in the head while Watson lie on the ground on Nov. 7, 2017, were in self-defense.
Judge Pat Sebesta told the jury a self-defense claim would mean force is justified if immediately necessary to protect himself against a person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.
“What he did was absolutely disproportionate to the situation,” prosecutor Chase Clayton said.
At times during the investigation, Seidule claimed Watson had a shotgun in his hands while standing in the kitchen, leading Seidule to go to a bedroom and bring back a 9mm handgun.
In a recorded interview with Brazoria County Sheriff’s investigator Dominick Sanders hours after the shooting, Seidule said Lewis “was kinda washing dishes and stuff, over by the sink,” when Seidule shot him “in the butt.”
Seidule wasn’t given the luxury of advice to talk to a lawyer before that interview, or given time to write things down and figure out the order of events, defense attorney Jeff Purvis said. What was on his mind during that time was that Watson carried around a shotgun, he said.
“This was a guy who had a shotgun all the time and now his back is to me,” Purvis said of Seidule’s mindset at the time of the shooting.
Watson moved toward where he had hidden his shotgun after being shot rather than out the nearby back door, Purvis said, citing blood shown in pictures on pantry shelves and none on the back door handle.
“He may have been shot six times, but he was perfectly capable of getting to that shotgun,” Purvis said.
There was a fight between Seidule and Watson, but it was not immediately before the shooting, prosecutor Brian Hrach said. If there was, he would have mentioned it while explaining to officers why he shot Watson, he said.
“The defendant knew what time it was,” Hrach said. “He knew there was a body and he had just shot someone in his house. … (He) knew exactly what he needed to tell him and he told him lies.”
The first six shots likely incapacitated Watson, as it shattered his femur and severed an artery, Hrach said.
“That’s perfectly capable of getting that shotgun? That, ladies and gentlemen, is ludicrous,” he said.
With Watson lying on the ground, the shot to the head killed him instantly, a medical examiner testified.
“It’s not self-defense. It was anger,” Hrach said. “I think that last shot just goes to show that.”
Before closing arguments, defense counsel called Watson’s former long-term girlfriend, Amanda Moore, to the stand, who testified that Watson had a history of violent outbursts and unpredictable behavior over the course of their five-year relationship between 2003 and 2008.
Moore testified, without a jury present, that Watson believed a group he called “endosporcolony” was after him and would grow increasingly paranoid, arming himself with a machete and a gun.
After Watson attacked her, Moore said, she left the relationship.
Another witness testified Watson showed violent stalking tendencies toward him and his wife, who previously had a relationship with Watson.
Watson often would call and make threats toward the man and his wife, once breaking into her home and sneaking onto a secure floor of the IRS, where a family member worked, he testified without a jury present. The man testified he had not been there, but heard the account from his wife.
Watson’s mother, Belinda Sparkman, sobbed after the jury delivered its verdict. Sanders turned around from the row in front of her and they embraced each other, continuing to hold hands as Sebesta revoked Seidule’s bond.
Deputies took Seidule into custody Friday afternoon after he turned everything in his pockets over to family members who were present throughout the trial. He faces up to life in prison once the punishment phase of trial begins at 9 a.m. Monday in the 239th District courtroom of Brazoria County Courthouse.