The Ottumwa Courier


June 4, 2013

'Total, utter hell'


By the end of the second day of deliberations, Sheheen said the vote was 10-2, guilty, with one of the two dissenting votes still refusing to participate.

The third day of deliberations began with a large board, where the jury went through testimony and listed every irrefutable fact, filling three pages.

But there was still confrontation with two of the jurors sticking by their "not guilty" stance, she said.

Several hours into the third day of deliberation, Sheheen said the 10 jurors voting "guilty" asked the other two jurors to explain to them why they felt Techel was not guilty.

"We got told that they don't have to tell us why they felt that way, they don't have to explain themselves to us," she said. "The way it was going, no matter what we did, we could not change their minds."

At 3:30 p.m. on the third day of deliberation, the jury reported to Judge Daniel Wilson that they could not arrive at a unanimous decision, according to court documents. But he reiterated that they needed to return to the jury room and come to an agreement.

On the final day of deliberations, the jury reviewed the interviews of Techel by law enforcement.

"But two people were saying solidly that they cannot change their mind," Sheheen said.

The continuing confrontation led one of the two dissenting jurors to claim jury misconduct, Sheheen said. At 9:53 a.m. and 10:48 a.m. on March 15, the final day of deliberation, the jury sent three notes to the court where "concerns regarding jury deliberations were expressed," according to court documents.

"They said they were being pressured to change their vote and said they felt uncomfortable," she said.

But eventually the head juror decided they were deadlocked and could not produce a unanimous verdict.

"We didn't want to face the family and tell them we're deadlocked," she said. "We can't give you what you need and deserve because of one or two people."

Had the alleged "plant" not been on the jury, Sheheen said the other juror who voted "not guilty" likely would have changed his or her mind.

"I felt fully confident that [Techel] did it — and so did nine other people," she said.

Currently, Techel's retrial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 12 in Henry County.

— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.

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