Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Community News Network

February 28, 2013

Ottumwa murder trial focuses on autopsy

OTTUMWA — Seth Techel's murder trial resumed Thursday with prosecutors focused on Lisa Techel's autopsy.

Dr. Julia Goodin, the state's chief medical examiner, conducted the autopsy. She was called both to provide evidence and to undermine earlier defense points.

The defense has repeatedly pointed to witness testimony that Lisa's body was still warm when first responders arrived at the Techel house. The implication from the defense is that such condition indicates Seth Techel quickly called 9-1-1 after she was shot.

Prosecutors contend Techel's call was nowhere near as fast as the defense says. In opening arguments prosecutor Andy Prosser said he waited 18 minutes before calling for help.

When asked whether a body's temperature allows examiners to establish a precise time of death, Goodin replied "absolutely not."

"While we would like to be able to say exactly when a person died, and they can do that on television, we really can't do that," she said.

The point was important enough for defense attorney Steven Gardner to return to it during his cross examination.

"Did you make a determination on the time of death?" he asked. Goodin said no.

"Did you attempt to make a determination?" he asked. Goodin again said she did not.

Goodin's testimony was preceded by a cautionary comment from Judge Daniel Wilson. He warned the people in the audience the testimony would be graphic and urged people to leave the courtroom if they felt the need to do so.

"There's not a problem, it's not going to disrupt anything," he said.

The slug that killed Lisa Techel entered directly under her armpit. Goodin said the fragments went through her lung and a major artery. She said the angle of the wound is consistent with the shot being fired from the foot of the bed as she slept.

Death, Goodin said, came quickly, "probably within minutes, but we can never be certain of that."

Prosecutors followed Goodin's testimony by calling Bryan Baum, a reserve deputy who was ordered to watch the Techel property after family was allowed to return. He wore a camouflage suit to hide his presence.

After returning to the property, Techel entered the yard with his father, Doug Techel. (Disclosure: Doug Techel is the Courier's circulation director.) They went to a tree near where the shotgun that killed Lisa Techel was found.

"As it moved closer you could start to make out what they said. As they came to the location where the gun was found I saw Seth Techel come to the tree and lean against the tree with his arm. He continued the conversation with his father," Baum said.

Baum testified Techel told his father, "They seemed to walk around here a lot," after they reached the tree. Doug Techel responded that that was the job for the investigators.

"From the tree he walked a couple steps around into the grass," Baum said.

Prosecutors contend it was not an accident Techel went to the location the gun was found. The defense argued previously he was drawn to a painted "X" on the tree. Gardner asked Baum if that was indeed the tree Techel approached, which Baum confirmed.

Additional testimony in the morning came from Lucas Howell, who lived with Seth and Lisa Techel prior to her death. Howell was the owner of the shotgun used in the killing.

Howell testified both he and Seth Techel had used the gun previously, and that the gun remained at the Techel home after he moved out to have shoulder surgery.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • 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

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