Juror speaks out on second Techel mistrial
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 22:01:17 GMT —
Last month, a group of 12 jurors could not reach a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Seth Techel.
For the first time, one of those jurors is speaking out about what went on behind closed doors and why those 12 jurors couldn't deliver a verdict.
"I'm 66 years old, I've never been called for jury duty -- ever -- for anything," said Glenn Coleman of Mt. Pleasant. "And so it was... to get called for a murder trial right off the bat on the first one, it was.... it was quite an experience."
When the case was first handed to the six-man, six-women jury, Coleman said the group took an initial vote, to see where they stood. The results came back with eight guilty votes and four not-guilty votes.
"We started going over the case and stuff and then we had another vote and it was 9-3," Coleman said. "And it stayed 9-3 the whole time, it never did change."
That means nearly two days of deliberation changed the mind of just one juror. Coleman said one woman in particular seemed like she was never going to change her not-guilty vote. As for Coleman, through all the details and evidence and testimony, he focused on the human element.
"I just kind of look around, look at people's expressions and emotions and stuff," he said. "I based a lot of my decisions on the way people act and how they present themselves."
Coleman said his personal opinion was that Techel and his defense team had a convenient scapegoat in Seth's neighbor, Brian Tate, and he never did believe that the neighbor actually committed the crime. A few of the other jurors seemed to feel differently.
Coleman described the deliberation process as "frustrating", but in the end, there was nothing he as a juror could do to bring closure to two families who desperately want it.
"I feel sorry for the families, both sides, because neither one of them had closure," he said. "They can't really go on with their lives, it's just got to be total chaos for them, especially for it to last this long."
The process is now underway for a third trial. The defense has stated its preference of venue to be Keokuk in Lee County or Muscatine, while the state has offered Marengo in Iowa County as a possible location. Coleman said he will follow the trial, wherever it is, and personally believes a verdict can eventually be reached with the right jury.