Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 4, 2013

Techel retrial resumes


Ottumwa Courier

MT. PLEASANT — The second week of Seth Techel's retrial picked up Monday, with prosecutors continuing their efforts to build the case.

Testimony began last Wednesday, following two days of jury selection. Prosecutors say Techel killed his pregnant wife, Lisa, at their home in 2012. The defense says Techel didn't commit the crime. Techel is charged with murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy.

Lucas Howell, who lived with the Techels, was among the witnesses Monday. Howell owned the shotgun used in the murder. His time with the Techels ended when he had shoulder surgery.

Howell left the gun at the Techel's trailer when he left. Prosecutor Scott Brown asked him about that decision.

“Why did you leave the guns behind? Why didn't you take them with you?” Brown asked.

Howell said the timing of his surgery was the main issue. It came up much sooner than originally planned.

Brown brought the gun to Howell during the questioning, asking him to identify it. Howell said the gun was his and identified it by some additional items he attached.

Defense attorney Steven Gardner asked Howell about whether he had ever experienced difficulty getting shells or shell casings ejected from the shotgun. Howell said he had not.

The shotgun was found the day after the murder. It was locked open by a shotgun shell that failed to eject properly.

Prosecutors also called Michael Owings, a student Techel enlisted to harass Brian Tate. Tate, Techel's neighbor, has been put forward by the defense as an alternate suspect in the murder. Gardner characterized Owing's actions a “prank.”

The defense has said Tate's statement that Techel, “wasn't such a nice guy” shows he was focused on pointing investigators toward Techel. Prosecutors want jurors to conclude the statement was the result of Techel's harassment.

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