The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 12, 2013

Defense continues case at Techel trial

MT. PLEASANT — Court resumed Tuesday at the Seth Techel murder trial after a day off for Veterans Day on Monday.

The defense council continued their case by calling John C. Cayton from the Access Forensics Laboratory in Cameron, Mo.

Cayton is an expert on forensics with decades of experience examining crime scenes and items of evidence, including firearms. He reviewed evidence from the crime scene, and, according to him, received two CD’s with various reports and photographs from the scene, Lisa Techel’s autopsy and the murder weapon.

Defense attorney Steve Gardner questioned Cayton about the murder weapon and had him describe the shotgun to the jury. Gardner then moved on to gunshot residue testing, which was not performed on Techel or Brian Tate, Techel’s neighbor, who the defense thinks is a better suspect in the case.

Gardner asked Cayton what his opinion was on whether gunshot residue tests should have been performed on Techel, to which Cayton replied, “I believe it should have been done.”

The cross examination from prosecutor Andy Prosser focused around whether or not the evidence Cayton analyzed could have determined where Techel was at the time of his wife’s death. Cayton replied with a simple, “No.”

Prosser also made mention to the fact that examiners who collect gunshot residue tests routinely include in their reports that the tests do not conclude whether the subject is or is not the killer. Cayton agreed that the tests cannot prove a person was the one doing the killing only based on having gunshot residue on their hands or clothes.

After Cayton’s testimony, Prosser and Gardner held a brief meeting at the judge’s bench. Judge Daniel Wilson then sent the jury on recess because the prosecution had problems with the next witness.

Prosser urged that the testimony by the next witness be held in private, with just the councils and Wilson present, due to the fact that medical records of the deceased Brian Tate were going to be used by the defense.

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