Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

March 15, 2013

Jury deadlocked, mistrial in Techel trial

OTTUMWA — A mistrial has been declared in the Seth Techel trial.

After four days of deliberation, the 12-person jury returned to the courtroom shortly after 11 a.m. Friday to "make a record."

"Has this jury reached a unanimous verdict?" asked Judge Daniel Wilson.

"No, sir," said the head juror.

"Do you think continued deliberations would lead to a unanimous verdict of the jury?" Wilson asked.

"No, sir," the head juror said.

Seth Techel, 22, was charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the death of his wife, Lisa, and unborn child last May at their rural Agency home. Prosecutors say they plan to retry the case.

The Iowa Judicial Branch's website lays out the requirement for verdicts in criminal trials:

"If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the court will declare a mistrial and the case may be tried again to another jury at a later date."

One of Techel's attorneys, Robert Box, made a motion for mistrial, "for reasons that it's apparent that the jury is deadlocked." Following no objections from prosecutor Andy Prosser, Wilson granted the mistrial.

As the judge spoke to the jury about their decision, some of the jurors were in tears.

Following court dismissal, Prosser told the Courier that he plans to seek a retrial within 90 days. For now, Techel will return to Monroe County Jail to be held on the two charges against him.

"We're considering that," Prosser said of a change of venue, "but you'll know if and when we file a motion."

"Of course, we're disappointed in what happened but I think the whole family is confident moving forward that justice will be served," said Todd Caldwell, Lisa's father. "I feel like we've got a huge family afterwards even more so than when we began: the investigators, the prosecutors and the victim advocates and our family have shed tears over this case, every one of them."

Caldwell said waiting for the jury to return from deliberations is "horrible."

"Not only are you waiting, but you're trying to entertain your family, keep their minds off of what's going on and at the end of the day, you've got to go to bed and know that you've got to wake up and do it again," Caldwell said.

The Caldwell family has told stories of Lisa throughout the trial to try to lift their spirits.

"That always makes everything better," he said. "But it's hard to know that it's out of your control and you've got to leave it to other people."

Tracy Caldwell, Lisa's mother, said for Lisa's parents it's horrible, but worse is watching Lisa's siblings go through the pain.

"That sense of 'you can't fix it,'" she said. "As a parent you want to fix their pain. For our other kids it's hard for us, too, to watch them. We deal with our pain, because we're the parent, but we're supposed to fix the boo boos ... so that's hard for us."

Todd said Lisa was a fun-loving, happy person.

"It wouldn't be like Lisa to not want a little bit of attention," he said with a slight grin. "The fact that it's carrying on probably has something to do with her because she's not ready to lose the focus."

Todd said Lisa's death has affected not only his family, but the Techels and the Wapello County Sheriff's Office.

"I think we've kind of ended that relationship, so I don't think of [Seth] as a son now but I did at one time think of him as a son," Todd said. "So it's like we lost two children."

Todd carries a coin a friend made for him in Lisa's honor, with her badge number, in his pocket every day in court, and said he will continue to do so during the retrial.

"Whenever I'm nervous or mad or something, I just reach in my pocket and know it's there," he said.

During the trial, Tracy said she's found her family had more friends than she ever realized.

"Lisa had many people that loved her," she said. "They've stepped up and taken us in their arms, too. I don't think we could have went through this without them."

The Techel family immediately left the courtroom following the close of the trial. Seth Techel left the courtroom without saying a word, accompanied by two sheriff deputies. He gave one of his attorneys, Robert Box, a pat on the back as he left.

1
Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Live entertainment slated for Tulip Time This year's line-up for Festhouden, which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening of Tulip Time, has been announced. Festhouden will take place on the Tulip Toren located on the south side of Pella's square. Grandstand tickets for Festhouden and the evenin

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

A. I'm in favor.
B. I'm not in favor.
C. I'm not sure.
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook