The Ottumwa Courier

February 27, 2013

Trial delayed by weather, is scheduled to resume today

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Judge Daniel Wilson has encouraged attorneys on both sides to keep the trial of Seth Techel moving efficiently toward a verdict. He’s had less luck with the weather.  

Tuesday was the second time winter conditions prompted Judge Wilson to cancel trial proceedings.

Even before a jury was selected, he told potential jurors that he would respect their time and work hard not to waste it. But he has also expressed concern over the safety of jurors and other parties coming to the Wapello County Courthouse each weekday.

Techel is on trial after state prosecutors accused him of killing his pregnant wife last May.

Jury selection took two full days; opening arguments were concluded on one day and the prosecution has had witnesses testify over the course of two days. To make their case, they have more than 60 witnesses on standby. They may not call all of them, prosecutors said, but they are potential witnesses.

As is the norm, the state makes its case first. The defense has the right to cross examine each witness. After the state finishes making its case, the defense will provide witnesses in an effort to counter statements made by prosecution witnesses. The prosecutors will get to cross examine each person who testifies for the defense.

The prosecution has so far tried to show that Techel was in love with a co-worker, with kissing, petting and nude email photos — and that phone calls he made via cell phone and a secret TracFone show a pattern that ended with the shooting death of Lisa Techel.   

The defense has countered that the relationship with the coworker, while “dumb,” was not a serious romance.

Court is scheduled to resume today.

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