The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 4, 2013

Investigators challenge Techel account on video

OTTUMWA — Seth Techel told investigators he was in the shower for "less than five minutes," when he heard the shot that killed his wife.

The statements, made in an interview shortly after Lisa Techel's death, are not new to jurors in Techel's murder trial. The defense has said throughout the proceedings that he was showering when someone broke into the house and killed Lisa.

Prosecutors have derided the theory as requiring an unknown "homicidal maniac."

Techel told investigators he saw a hole in the covers and pulled them back to see Lisa had been shot. "As I was getting ready to put pressure on it I heard a noise in the living room. I grabbed my gun," and went to the living room.

Lisa stopped breathing as he returned. He rolled her over to start CPR, then froze. He called 9-1-1.

Techel spoke calmly as he recounted his version of events. The prosecution has previously questioned whether his crying after Lisa's death was for the benefit of the authorities called to the home.

Investigators returned to the point later in the interview. They challenged Techel, saying they weren't seeing the kinds of things he was describing. They asked why he made no attempt to revive Lisa.

"You're a first responder. You know CPR," the questioner said.

Techel's responses during questioning varied. When pressed at one point he began sobbing. At other times he was defiant, telling the agent it "sucks" that someone killed Lisa and he was being treated as a suspect.

The interview with authorities was recorded and playback for the jurors began last Friday. It picked up again as court started Monday morning.

Investigators closely questioned Techel during the interview about his relationship with Rachel McFarland. He denied any intent to leave Lisa or otherwise end the marriage.

Techel insisted the relationship with McFarland was non-sexual and characterized it as "just talk." McFarland testified earlier in the trial that she and Techel did not engage in sexual activity.

"I know this doesn't look good," said Techel.

The agent from the state Division of Criminal Investigation left the room for a while. When he returned, he challenged Techel directly.

"The facts right now show that you're responsible for the killing of your wife," he said.

"No. No. No way," Techel responded.

Facts, the agent insisted, showed otherwise.

The interview ended with Techel walking out after being accused several times of shooting Lisa.

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

 

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