The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 7, 2013

Techel trial proceeds without jury

OTTUMWA — Seth Techel's murder trial didn't take Thursday off, but the jury did.

That led to some confusion with people believing the trial would not convene. But there's a difference between the trial continuing and testimony taking place. Testimony at a trial, in which the attorneys question witnesses, requires the jury's presence.

But the jury does not hear everything that takes place in a trial. There are times when attorneys are in dispute about what a witness can be allowed to say or whether evidence should be admitted. They must clearly address those issues so the judge can rule. If the jury hears too much of those arguments, it can have the effect of introducing the jurors to an idea that the judge eventually excludes.

Judges will try to spare the jury if there is a major dispute by sending them out of the courtroom. It's not the first choice, but it's better than tainting the jury and having to start over.

What happens when there are multiple motions and arguments that need to take place? It makes little sense to bring jurors in for court, only to have them dismissed repeatedly for those arguments. That's the scenario for Thursday in the Techel case.

"The jury is not here today. There are several matters to take up today that, by their nature, are taken up outside the presence of the jury," said Judge Daniel Wilson

The solution this time is to set aside a day purely to work through those issues. Jurors were told not to report, but the attorneys and the judge are in the courtroom. They will, over the course of Thursday, work through the issues so jurors can come back on Friday without having constant interruptions.

A large portion of the morning was occupied with the question of whether the defense would be allowed to introduce information about the death of Brian Tate, the Techels' neighbor whom the defense claims could be the real killer. Expert testimony was needed to determine whether it could be entered or, as the prosecution argues, it is irrelevant to the case. The arrangements Thursday allowed Wilson to hear the testimony without unduely inconveniencing jurors.

Thursday also marks two weeks since the opening arguments were made and is nearly three weeks since jury selection began for the trial. Original estimates indicated the case would probably take two to three weeks, but jurors have been told to expect to report next week as well.

Techel is charged with first degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy. He faces life in prison if convicted.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction B&W photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0424 OTT Lottery addiction graphic -T -L -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 3

    OTTUMWA — At first, George bought a lottery ticket once or twice a week. Nothing big. Spent $1 or $2 at a time. As the big jackpots rolled around, he’d purchase a few more tickets. No big deal, he thought. Soon, playing the lottery became his obsessi

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Interpreter bill approved in kidnapping case OTTUMWA — A filing in an Ottumwa case illustrates one of the basic tenets of the American legal system and its costs. Adem Anota is charged with one count of kidnapping. The charge is a Class A felony, among the most serious and one of only a few cri

    April 23, 2014

  • Van Buren OKs teacher pay hike KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren Community School Board ratified a master contract with its certified staff members recently. Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell, the Van Buren Education Association and the district reached a settlement which calls for increasing

    April 23, 2014

  • 'Ride With the Clowns' bike event full of fun OTTUMWA — This bike ride is a joke. No, seriously. The 10th annual "Ride With the Clowns" spring tune-up is set for Saturday, May 3, and this fun ride is sponsored by the Ottumwa Shrine Club Clown Unit. "It draws a regular crowd," said Mark Merringer

    April 23, 2014

  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition