Defense questions evidence in Techel Trial

The Mossberg shotgun used to kill Lisa Caldwell Techel took center stage at the first degree murder trial of Seth Techel Friday.

Defense attorney Steven Gardner called Jeremy Weller to the stand Friday morning. At the time of the murder Weller was the Wapello County Jail Administrator and a reserve deputy. He was also the officer who found the murder weapon.

Weller found the weapon the day after the murder, near a tree that had been marked with spray paint and crime scene tape in the hours immediately following the murder.

The defense wants jurors to infer that if the weapon had been near the tree in the hours after the murder it would have been easily discovered when the crime scene tape was attached to the tree.

The implication is that someone, likely Brian Tate, placed the weapon there later.

Defense attorney Robert Box asked Weller to describe finding the weapon.

â??I guess I wouldnâ??t say that it came out automatically but it was probably five or six feet from the tree knowing that's what I was looking for it did stand out but it was in some tall grass,â?? said Weller.

Weller noted for the jury that the other deputy searching with him that day, walked past the gun without seeing it, seconds before Weller noticed the weapon.

Following Weller's questioning the defense called Allison Murtha to the stand. Murtha tests gun shot residue for a private company based in Pennsylvania.

Defense attorney Steve Garnder has repeatedly poked prosecution witnesses for not testing Techel's body or clothing for any sign he had fired a weapon. Murtha told jurors that GSR testing is an important and reliable test, one that law enforcement often hires her to conduct.

Garnder has suggested that not doing what would seem to be an obvious test was either negligance by law enforcement or an attempt to railroad his client.

On cross examination, prosecutors seemed to get Murtha to admit, the test results don't necessarily mean the subject fired a weapon.

On re-direct Garnder appeared to score some points when he asked Murtha if in her expert opinion if the test should have been performed.

She told jurors that if GSR evidence can be collected, it should be collected.

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