The man convicted by a jury on eight counts of assault and battery last week pleaded no contest Tuesday to another charge of aggravated assault and battery involving a second victim.
Matt Seals agreed to a plea deal that includes the state of Wyoming dismissing the other nine charges he was facing.
At 5 p.m. Tuesday in Teton County District Court, Judge Timothy Day accepted Seals’ no contest plea, which is an alternative to a guilty plea that doesn’t accept or deny responsibility but accepts punishment.
“He got her on the floor and drove his knee into her pelvic area extremely hard and viciously,” Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan told the court. “There is strong evidence on that charge.”
After a four-day trial last week Seals was found guilty of domestic battery, strangulation, aggravated assault, battery and property destruction.
“That result is why I do this job,” Allan told the News&Guide after the verdict. “That’s what makes this job worth doing.”
The victim cried and hugged family members as the guilty verdicts were read aloud in the courtroom.
“Watching [the victim] as the verdict was read, she was so emotional. She was exceedingly emotional,” juror Jon Drummond said. “I hope he goes to Wyoming prison.”
Seals was arrested last July after one of the victims showed up at the Teton County Courthouse to obtain a protection order.
Her account described so much violence that police became involved.
Seals bonded out of Teton County Jail after his original arrest and was on the lam for several weeks before he was arrested in Massachusetts and extradited to Wyoming.
He has been incarcerated at Teton County Jail since October.
During last week’s trial, jurors heard testimony from both ex-girlfriends, who said Seals physically abused them between 2011 and 2017 on multiple occasions throughout their relationships.
As a juror, Drummond said, he tried to pay attention to the defendant and the witnesses as testimony was going on.
“When the two girls testified he was beet red during some of that testimony,” Drummond said. “Every time there was something severe shown, his cheeks would pull in and his lips would purse tight.”
The 10 men and two women on the jury were mostly on the same page, jurors said, but they deliberated for six hours before reaching a verdict Thursday evening.
“When you consider all the aggregates and the five and a half years that this went on, he is just a bad dude,” juror Kenneth Vickland said. “That’s all.”
Seals never took the stand. His defense team called only one witness, Teton County inmate Albert Seehuber, who helped the team reiterate to the jury that this was a plot between the two ex-girlfriends to get back at Seals.
“He had very little credibility,” Vickland said of Seehuber. “He’s sitting in the witness box in his jail clothes.”
Last week’s trial mainly focused on the first victim, who said that during their five-year relationship Seals gave her a black eye, a bloody nose, two scars on her face and a broken arm. On a large projector the prosecution showed the jurors photos of the woman’s injuries.
“He denied everything that was brought up against him,” Vickland said. “That to me is an extreme, because we saw black eyes, bloody noses and broken arms.
“Quite honestly,” Vickland said, “there wasn’t anything for the defense to work with.”
Another trial for the second victim’s assault case was set to start Monday, but the plea agreement means the cases will go straight to sentencing.
Seals, 34, is facing 15 years maximum for the first convictions and 10 years maximum on the second aggravated assault conviction.
The plea bargain states that his sentences will run concurrently.
Under the plea deal prosecutors also agreed to dismiss a newer charge of conspiracy to solicit compounding.
Seals was charged with the felony on May 28 after police said the defendant and his mother, Lori Seals, tried to bribe one of his victims $50,000 not to testify against him.
Officers said Lori Seals called attorney Dick Mulligan on May 23 and offered to pay the victim $416 a month for 10 years after prosecutors dropped the case against her son.
Prosecutor Allan also agreed to dismiss the felony charge against Lori Seals.
Seals won’t be sentenced until presentence investigations are complete. Those can take 30 to 60 days.