The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 8, 2013

Neighbor denies involvement in murder

OTTUMWA — Seth Techel's trial on charges of murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy resumed Friday after jurors were given a one-day break in the proceedings.

On Thursday, Judge Daniel Wilson ruled much of what the defense had hoped to introduce to jurors about the health, both physical and mental, of Techel's neighbor inadmissible. The defense has pointed to the neighbor, Brian Tate, as a suspect investigators overlooked in a rush to charge Techel.

Prosecutors had argued the information about Tate would take significant time without saying anything about the Techel's guilt or innocence.

Jurors did hear from Tate through audio of a May 30, 2012 interview Deputy Don Phillips conducted with him. During the interview Tate was directly asked whether he had anything to do with Lisa Techel's death. He said no.

Tate believed the Wapello County Sheriff's Department had not fully followed up on his complaints about vandalism of his property. He had accused Techel of being behind the incidents, a fact confirmed by witnesses earlier in the trial.

"It didn't seem to me like you were investigating much ... I felt like you guys would have been more present in this area," Tate said.

Phillips asked Tate how he kept guard on his property. He said he walked some, but mostly watched to make sure no one was causing trouble. When asked whether he knew if the Techels owned guns, Tate wasn't sure but said he had heard shooting from the property.

The interview also included questions about Tate's own firearms. He said he did have guns, including two shotguns and slugs. The guns were "for defensive purposes only."

"I don't trust people anymore," he explained.

Late in the interview Phillips asked Tate directly, "Did you have anything to do with Lisa's death?"

"No, I did not," Tate replied.

Prosecutor Scott Brown asked about the shotgun shells Tate showed Phillips. They appeared to be old, Phillips said, with faded markings. But they were the same brand and color as those recovered with what authorities believe was the murder weapon.

Defense attorney Steven Gardner focused on Phillips' interactions with Tate. During the interview, Tate invited Phillips to call neighbors to ask whether he had ever been a problem. But the previous day, Gardner said, Phillips had received a call from one neighbor saying Tate had called to talk to him about their relationship.

When asked about Tate's comment that he was ready if "someone started shooting" at him or his house, Phillips conceded Tate seemed paranoid.

The defense indicated Thursday it will call three more witnesses. It is not clear whether that includes Techel himself. Prosecutors have not said how many rebuttal witnesses it plans to call, if any.

Jurors could hear closing arguments and get the case as soon as Monday.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook