The Ottumwa Courier


June 4, 2013

'Total, utter hell'

OTTUMWA — The four days the jury spent locked in the jury room at the end of the Seth Techel trial were tense, argumentative and has led at least one juror to believe there was a "plant" on the jury.

Twelve jurors and three alternates sat through nearly one month of the trial in which Techel was charged with murdering his wife and unborn child more than a year ago at their home in rural Agency.

Micah Sheheen has come forward with her account of what happened in that jury room during the four days of deliberation that resulted in a mistrial on March 15 after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Sheheen was one of 10 jurors who came to the conclusion that Techel was guilty; two jurors did not agree.

"... let me tell you, that was the longest four days of my life, total utter hell," Sheheen wrote in a note that has been widely circulated through Facebook since it was posted Sunday night.

After meticulously taking notes and reviewing every piece of evidence, Sheheen said in an interview with the Courier that "there were things that did not add up and made no sense whatsoever," resulting in her vote: guilty.

The jury filed into the jury room on the first day of deliberations and immediately took a vote to see where everyone stood: six voted guilty, two voted not guilty and four were undetermined, she said.

But one juror, she alleges, had made up his mind before the trial even began and swayed another juror to also vote "not guilty."

"We had one person from the very get-go, before we even had deliberations, going around person to person, going, 'Whatever you do, don't let anybody change your mind,'" Sheheen said. "When it came down to deliberation time, they sat there with their arms crossed, back in their chair the entire time and didn't want to participate, didn't want to look at evidence."

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