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
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook