The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 14, 2014

No jury seated Monday

DAVENPORT — After hours of questioning, not a single juror was selected Monday for the third murder trial of Seth Techel, 23, of Wapello County. Jury selection will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport.

While Assistant Attorney General Andy Prosser questioned jurors Monday, Techel conferred often with his defense team, which includes court-appointed attorneys Jake Feuerhelm and Roger Owens of Des Moines.

Also on hand with Prosser was prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown. They have prosecuted the case since its beginning.

Techel faces charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy after his pregnant wife, Lisa Caldwell Techel, was shot and killed at the couple’s mobile home near Agency, Iowa, in May 2012.

This is the third time that Judge Daniel Wilson has presided over Techel’s trial after Wilson first was assigned the case in July 2012. Each of the first two trials in Wapello and Henry counties ended because of a hung jury.

Techel’s defense attorneys Steven Gardner and Robert Box withdrew from the case after the second mistrial.

When Wilson told the jury pool that the trial might last two or three weeks, several gasped aloud in surprise. Wilson reassured the possible jurors that, once the trial gets underway, they would have breaks throughout the day, and “I’ll do my best to get you out of here by 4:30 each day.”

Juror candidates were directed to approach the judge and speak to him on an individual basis if they felt they were unable to serve during such a lengthy trial. Several members of the jury pool, after speaking to the judge, left the courtroom. Fifteen more prospective jurors were brought in after the jury pool dwindled.

Wilson said that, eventually, 12 jurors and four alternates will be chosen. At least six of the prospective jurors have served previously on juries.

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