The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 15, 2013

Mistrial

MT. PLEASANT — In a very emotional day at the Seth Techel first-degree murder trial, the jury made it clear to the courtroom that they will not reach a verdict.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., the jury was brought back into the courtroom after deliberating since 9 a.m. Sometime before then, the head juror sent a note to Judge Daniel Wilson stating they were deadlocked and a verdict could not possibly be reached.

The judge asked the other 11 jurors if they had any disagreements with what the head juror said, and none of them raised their hand, indicating they all agreed that a verdict would not be reached.

Even though the jury made it clear a verdict was not possible, the judge sent them back into deliberations for the remainder of the afternoon.

After the jury went back into the jury room to continue deliberating, defense attorney Steve Gardner brought to the court’s attention that the public in attendance was not holding their emotions in check. He renewed a previous motion for mistrial based on jury interference.

“I renew the motion for mistrial, especially after the jury has expressed they are hopelessly deadlocked, and then exposed to type of behavior from the public that they were just exposed to,” Gardner said. “The public is attempting to influence them. I’m not going to say which side; it doesn’t matter, but it is wrong and it should stop.”

To that, the prosecution agreed that the emotions of those in attendance have to be kept in check so the jury is not swayed. However, assistant prosecuting attorney Scott Brown stated that Gardner standing there and trying to suggest that anyone in the court was attempting to sway the jury’s decision was simply “nonsense.”

Wilson made sure everyone in the courtroom knew they were not allowed to display emotion, saying:

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