The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 12, 2013

Defense continues case at Techel trial


Tate passed away at his home on Sept. 30, 2012. His medical records, according to Prosser, have not been released by his estate, so they are still confidential and should not be allowed to be made public. However, continuing in private would violate Techel’s right to a public trial, Gardner said.

Both councils and Wilson entered the judge’s chambers for more than an hour to discuss Tate’s medical records. After their meeting, the judge brought out the jury, and the defense called their next witness, Dr. James Trahan of the Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames.

Trahan is a psychiatrist, and he conducted an assessment on Tate when he was admitted to the medical center on Sept. 13 until Sept. 21. Trahan observed at that time that Tate was “a rather disheveled man,” and he would pace back-and-forth and barely talk when he first arrived.

Tate had been admitted to hospitals many times throughout his life, according to Trahan, and had many symptoms of being bipolar and schizophrenic. He was on an anti-depressant medication, which could have affected his manic state because anti-depressants can lead to an activation of mania while not treating his bipolar disorder. When asked whether he found Tate to be mentally ill at the time of his stay, Trahan stated, “Yes.”

Prosser’s cross examination centered around the fact that although Tate was admitted into the medical center in September 2012, that had no inclination that his mental state was poor in May, when Lisa Techel was killed. His mental state was like a rollercoaster and could have varied day-to-day, let alone month-to-month, it was explained.

When Prosser asked if, based on Trahan’s observations in September, what could he say about Tate’s mental state in May, Trahan answered with, “Nothing at all.”

The trial will resume today at 1:15 p.m.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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