Broad Background

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Chief Investigator for the district attorney's office, Tom Seymour has long lists of witnesses for court hearings that he keeps track of hanging on his office wall.

By Michael Maresh Journal staff writer

Combining a former police officer with a psychologist created the chief investigator that District Attorney Will Furse was looking for to fill out his staff late last year.

Tom Seymour, 64, brings that unique combination to the DA's office.

Seymour had been a psychologist for 36 years and was employed as a Utah police officer for two years.

Seymour said he never envisioned himself being a chief investigator while growing up; instead thought he was going to play professional baseball.

Seymour attended Loyola Marymount College on a baseball scholarship, but his athletic dream was dashed by a leg injury.

Knowing he needed to take academics more seriously, Seymour slide into psychology courses and eventually earned a doctorate in the field.

Seymour's new job with the DA's office follows his retirement from psychology.

His past career has helped him immensely in his job as the chief investigator for the DA's office.

Seymour has worked with sex offenders at the state prison in Florence, Ariz., and also was employed at the juvenile facility at the Adobe Mountain correction center, which is just north of Phoenix.

He also worked in California and New York.

In 1993, Seymour experienced what he called a mid-life crisis and decided to leave psychology to become a police officer and was hired by the Moab Police Department in southeastern Utah.

At 42, Seymour was the oldest patrol officer on the force and took some good-natured ribbing from fellow officers for having that distinction, earning the nickname Doc.

After two years as a police officer, Seymour was offered the opportunity to teach forensic psychology at a medical school.

After moving to the Four Corners area with his wife, April Randle, a medical doctor, he worked as a psychologist for AXIS for five years until retiring last year.

Seymour said he and his wife always have liked living in the Four Corners region, and added they own a home in Dove Creek.

While he was thinking his working days were over, he was contacted by Furse shortly after the DA was elected to office in November.

Seymour was a Furse supporter during the election. Furse learned about the Seymore's background and thought the two jobs combined into one would be ideal for the investigator position.

Seymour said there are numerous layers to the profession, including finding the reason why some people behave the way they do and what happens to the victims after criminal incidents.

His past experience as a police officer also helped him in his new profession as this job helped him investigate certain facets of the crime. Since patrol officers are responsible for investigating the criminal behavior before turning the cases over to detectives who in turn would present the evidence to prosecutors.

The not knowing part makes his job more fun and challenging.

"It's the ultimate chess game in deciding what happens next," he said, adding he does not have a preconceived notion on what an interviewee tells him and lets the story unfold on its own.

"It's like putting a piece back in the puzzle," he said.

Part of his current job is interviewing witnesses and making sure they are ready for trial, which often involves interviewing them a second time.

If a witness informs the DA's office in advance that a particular day to testify at trial may not work for anvalid reason, they may try to schedule an alternate time for that person.

"I will see them face-to-face and tell them to put the (court) date on their calendar," he said.

Currently, Seymour is working the murder trial of Luther Hampson who is accused of murdering Dolores resident Jonathan Hayes in January 2012.

He also makes background checks of all involved because past offenses, especially when not discovered, could prove to be damaging when a trial begins.

He said history of assaults, especially in domestic violence cases, are vital when trying to receive a protection order from the court.

One thing, though stands out and that is to help the deputy DAs and Furse receive the information they need.

"A lot of research is done to make a current case even stronger," Seymour said. He also said he is having a great time working with the DA's office, mentioning the competent deputy district attorneys and the legal assistants that he gets to work with everyday.

The chief investigator said he would like to continue working with the DA's office for as long as Furse remains in office.

Seymour, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, likes to ski, especially at Telluride, river raft and watch the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team in his spare time.

He and his wife have three adult children and three grandchildren.

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