Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

October 30, 2013

Jury seated in Techel trial

MT. PLEASANT — Judge Daniel Wilson asked 16 of the 80 potential jurors to rise and take an oath. This morning, they will report to the jury room as the 12 jurors and four alternates in the murder trial of Seth Techel.

The prosecutor will read the charges. The defense will enter a plea. And it’s very likely that attorneys will start their opening arguments.

The jury wasn’t sworn in until 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, meaning it took two solid days to conduct jury selection. That’s less time than it took during the first State of Iowa v. Seth Techel trial.

The newly seated jury was ordered not to discuss the case or even listen to anyone discussing the case.

“Not even with your family,” the judge said. “Not only must your conduct as jurors be above reproach, you must avoid even the appearance of” being improper.

The second day of State of Iowa v Seth Techel was spent questioning potential jurors.

Prosecutor Andy Prosser worked to find out which of the potential 16 might suddenly up and disappear. One woman warned that her daughter, who lives with her, is going to give birth in about a month. Another has an ill father now on a feeding tube and down to 100 pounds body weight. Others owned their own business, coached a youth team or managed construction projects.

Very rarely did Judge Daniel Wilson release anyone.

A doctor expressed concern that another provider had departed their medical practice and that while the doctor was at jury selection, a dozen patients per day had been rescheduled. Prosecutor Prosser asked the judge to allow the doctor to leave. Defense attorney Steve Gardner said he was OK with that, too.

However, Judge Wilson said during jury excuse time, multiple jurors had asked to be released for work reasons. Except in one situation, he refused all work-related excuses. To be fair and consistent, Wilson said, he was going to have to deny the request to release the physician from jury duty.

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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?"

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