The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 1, 2013

Prosecution, defense draw different conclusions from interviews

OTTUMWA — Two interviews with Seth Techel seemed, in a way, to verify what both the prosecution and defense have been saying all along. But each side seemed to find important details in the nearly six hours of combined audio and video tapes of interrogations.

Deputy Jeff Layton spoke with Techel first, in his squad car at the scene of Lisa Techel’s murder. Upon cross examining the deputy Friday in court, defense attorney Steven Gardner asked about a point of quiet contention between defense and prosecution. In their opening, prosecutors said one of the things that doesn’t make sense is that Seth heard a gunshot, but no barking resulting from the presence of an intruder.

The defense may be trying to say the reason Techel didn't hear an intruder was because the dogs don’t bark a lot. One scene on tape showed the chocolate lab, Remington.

Police, parents, DCI agents, lab techs, all came and went without Remington barking. That had been shown already. But then, prosecutors countered by bringing in a witness who kept his coon hound puppy at the Techel home. Deputy Marty Wonderlin testified that was one loud puppy who “went nuts” during his and Layton’s search for intruders on the Techel property.

So it seemed like the state showed there should have been barking heard after all.

Today, Gardner countered the counter — he asked something more specific.

Gardner: At what point during the perimeter search did the puppy start barking?

Deputy: When we shined our lights into the shed where the puppy lived.

Defense: No barking until you shined your flashlights inside the shed?

Deputy: That’s correct.

The prosecution pointed out a potentially damaging omission, however, during an interview with a Division of Criminal Investigations special agent.

Chris Thomas of the DCI asked Seth Techel if any guns were missing from the house. Techel said he didn’t know. Agent Thomas asked him to “jot down” a list of the guns in the house so investigators could make sure none were missing.

Prosecutor Andy Prosser asked Thomas if Techel complied. He did, said Thomas. And did Seth list the weapon later found in the grass, the shotgun that turned out to be the murder weapon?

No, said Thomas, he did not.

On tape, Thomas asks Techel not to get mad at the agent, but “because of the nature of our goal, I have to ask some [difficult] questions. Are there any extra- marital-type things going on?”

Seth said  “no,” not really. Just a coworker I texted once in a while. Was it sexting? No, no. Nothing like that. Just hi, how ya’ doin’, how was work.

Her name?

“Rachel,” said Techel.

Are you sure the baby is yours? Thomas asked. Could his wife have been unfaithful?

“Lisa’s not like that,” Seth said.

The beginning of the interview appeared to take a toll on Seth’s family, present in the courtroom. Though calm and conversational at some points during the five-hour interview, he sobbed about the loss of his wife and child.

“Why couldn't I protect the woman I love,” he cried, “the woman I married? Why!”

He was just 10 feet away, he said, and couldn’t protect them. What kind of jackass comes in someone’s house and shoots them? Later, he lamented his failure to resuscitate Lisa.

When he returned from a quick search for an intruder, he said, he put his handgun somewhere, perhaps the night stand, and prepared to perform CPR..

Looking down at the lifeless body of his wife, he panicked, he told the interviewer.

"I froze,” he cried. “I couldn't save my own wife!"

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Agriculture Day color photo 2 -T -L -M Cardinal students celebrate Ag Day ELDON — Sometimes the best way to learn is to get out of the classroom and come face-to-face with things that you might not see every day. Students at Cardinal Elementary School got that chance Thursday during Ag Day. Every year, the Cardinal FFA and

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT Five Things logo -T -L -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — It's a weekend of Easter celebrations, historic events and educational opportunities in southeast Iowa. Many people are gathered together this weekend, and the surrounding communities have scheduled events perfect for the whole family. 1. S

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Joe Tafta color photo -L -T -M Pursuing opportunities

    OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does. But not always. On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for m

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0417 OTT Saving Center color photo -T -L -M Hedrick building has friends HEDRICK — The community wants a civic center, and they've been willing to work for it. "I'd say we have 15 to 25 volunteers each time," Tommy Smith of Hedrick said. "These are all good people." Smith was volunteering his services at the Easter Brunch

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Iowa farmers preparing for planting OTTUMWA — Even though the winter seemed to linger like Iowa was going through an ice age and cold and wet weather has highlighted the early spring, farmers are starting to get out to their fields to put down fertilizer and get fields ready for planti

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition