The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 25, 2013

1 p.m. Trial update: Investigators face questions

(Continued)

OTTUMWA —

Birmingham was the first witness prosecutors called to testify mainly about the cell phones. Prosecutors said they plan to call McFarland as a witness Monday afternoon.

Gardner began the morning's proceedings with his cross examination of Deputy Marty Wonderlin. Gardner pressed Wonderlin about a gap of "five to 10 minutes" in the audio in the dashboard video from Wonderlin's patrol car.

"Did you turn off the audio or was there a malfunction? Do you know why there was no audio?" he asked

"Sometimes really loud noise will punch out the sound," Wonderlin said. "Also if I'm, I don't know the exact distance, too far away from my patrol car it won't transmit any audio back."

Wonderlin also said under questioning that he did destroy notes he made after filing his initial report.

"Is it customary for you to destroy your notes in the course of a murder investigation?" asked Gardner

"In any investigation," Wonderlin replied.

Wonderlin called Doug Techel, Seth's father, to the scene that morning. (Disclosure: Doug Techel is the Courier's circulation director.) He said he called him because, "he needed to be there for Seth."

Prosecutor Scott Brown picked up that in his redirect questioning, asking whether Wonderlin called Doug Techel on his own or if he was asked to do so. Seth Techel requested the call, Wonderlin said.

Brown asked whether Seth and Doug Techel were ever alone following Doug's arrival. Wonderlin said they were allowed to talk privately.

Techel's reactions that morning were briefly the subject of the redirect questioning, when prosecutors asked whether he ever stopped crying. Wonderlin said Techel stopped every time the deputy was on the phone.

Techel is charged with murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy.

 

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