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      Neighbor's doctor testifies for Techel defense

      Jurors in the first degree murder trial of Seth Techel got a look into the troubled mind of Brian Tate Tuesday morning.

      The defense has argued throughout the case that it was Tate, not Seth Techel, who was responsible for the murder of Lisa Caldwell-Techel in May 2012.

      Over the objections of the state, Dr. James Trahan took the stand as a defense witness. Trahan treated Tate when he was involuntarily committed to the Mary Greely Center in Ames several months after Lisa Techel's murder. Trahan, who only testified after being directly instructed to by Judge Daniel Wilson, told the court that Tate had a long history of mental illness, including bi-polar disorder, and delusions that he was the victim of a government conspiracy.Trahan acknowledged that persons with Tate's symptoms can be dangerous and told jurors that Tate's chronic drug use may have made his condition worse. â??And he would stubbornly continue to use marijuana at intervals despite his doctors recommendation to the contrary. Part of it may have been the result of some false fixed belief, a delusional perception, that the marijuana was somehow healing to him when in fact it was something that could destabilize him,â?? Trahan said.

      On cross examination, Trahan told jurors that just because Tate was severely ill in September, should not cause them to draw any conclusions about his mental state in May. Trahan said that without any direct evidence it is impossible to determine Tate's mental health in the hours and days before Lisa Techel was murdered.Previous stories....

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