The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 13, 2013

Jury finishes second day of deliberations without verdict

OTTUMWA — Two local families are still wondering whether Seth Techel will be convicted of killing his wife and unborn child last May.

The jury spent a full eight hours in deliberations Wednesday. Typically during the nearly three weeks of the State v. Seth Techel, the judge was sending them home at 4:30 p.m. That was extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

They return at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The defendant’s parents as well as relatives of the victim waited for word the entire day, some in the courtroom, others at home or work with their cell phones by their sides.

One spectator in the courtroom, part-way through her hours-long wait, said, “If you think we’re antsy, imagine how hard this is for the families.”

Most of the people at the courthouse chose to avoid speculation, though some talked about whether a long deliberation was good for the prosecution or the defense.

But the trial of Seth Techel contained a lot of evidence and testimony — some of it presented in person, some of it electronic.

So while there are juries that return a verdict in hours, just watching the taped DVD interview/ interrogation of Techel would take five hours. There are dozens of photographs, pages of text messages and testimony from experts in fingerprinting, firearms and DNA.

There’s more DVD footage, too: DVDs showing recordings from dashboard cameras reveal police meetings with a neighbor whom the defense described as a possible suspect in the killing. Also, a video on one DVD shows law enforcement arriving at the Techel home on the day Lisa was shot.

The public, including the press, are not told what evidence is requested by the jury because, the judge said, it’s part of the confidential deliberation process.

But some general knowledge of what jurors may be working on throughout the day made itself fairly obvious. For example, around 3 p.m., a court staff member took a request from the jury room and returned quickly — with a DVD player.

 

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