After six days of testimony, the state rested its case Thursday morning in the first-degree murder trial of Seth Techel. Since last week, Andrew Prosser and the prosecution team have been trying to convince jurors in Henry County that Seth Techel should be convicted for murdering his pregnant wife, Lisa Techel, in May 2012.
The state's witnesses ranged from experts from the Crime Lab in Ankeny, Iowa to Seth's acquaintances. And witness after witness, evidence upon more evidence, the courtroom in Henry County inches closer to what the prosecution, the defense and the families involved hope will be a clear verdict, especially after how the first trial in Wapello County ended in March.
"Of course, we're disappointed in what happened, but I think the whole family's confident in moving forward that justice will be served," Todd Caldwell, Lisa's father, told the media after a mistrial was declared.
Fast-forward to October. The retrial moved to Henry County, but for the prosecution and defense, the core arguments stayed the same. The prosecution seeks to prove that Seth Techel was the only one with motive and opportunity to kill Lisa that morning in May 2012.
"Seth Techel is the one that shot and killed his wife and terminated her pregnancy," said state prosecutor Scott Brown in opening statements last week. "Seth Techel is the one who was behind a 12-gauge shotgun. Seth Techel was the one behind the shotgun, who pulled the trigger, who caused a deer slug to slam into his wife and kill her."
So now, after nearly two weeks of hearing all the reasons why Seth Techel was the one who killed his wife, jurors will hear the defense's theory: that it was the Techel's neighbor, Brian Tate, who committed the crime. The defense doesn't have to prove that Tate did it, they just have to make it plausible enough to raise doubt in jurors' minds.
That means when the defense began calling its witnesses Thursday morning, Andrew Prosser focused on the relationship Techel had with his friends and neighbors and, of course, Brian Tate, his mental state and what those close to Seth knew about his relationship to his neighbor.
In the first trial, it took the defense about three days to present its case. After they rest this time around, the fate of the 23-year-old from Agency rests in the hands of a jury for the second time in seven months.