State rests case against Techel
The state finished presenting its case in the first degree murder trial of Seth Techel Thursday morning in Mt. Pleasant.
Prosecuting attorney Andrew Prosser rested the state's case after six days of testimony.
Defense attorney Steven Gardner immediately asked Judge Daniel Wilson to dismiss the case, saying the state had not met the basic legal requirements to convict the 23-year-old Agency man.
The defense request for a dismissal is a fairly standard practice in criminal cases. The tactic is generally unsuccessful, so it was no surprise when Judge Wilson ruled that state had presented enough evidence to continue the trial.
Gardner then began the defense case. The defense intends to argue to the jury that Brian Tate, the Techel's neighbor, is most likely responsible for the murder.
First up was an elderly couple, Drucilla and Jack Chickering. The Chickerings were neighbors of both the Techels and Brian Tate at the time of Lisa Caldwell Techel's death.
Drucilla Chickering testified she found Seth Techel pleasant and that he seemed excited about being a father. She also told the jurors that she and her husband were aware that Brian Tate suffered from a form of mental illness.
After the Chickerings testified, the defense called a number of witnesses who testified seeing the Techels acting like a normal couple the morning before Lisa's death.
During the afternoon session, jurors heard the recording of an audiotape of an interview conducted with Brian Tate the afternoon of the murder.
Tate and his mother can be heard calmly answering questions about his problems with Techel from Wapello County Sheriffâ??s Deputy Don Phillips.
Tate can be heard telling Phillips and a DCI agent about being the victim of petty vandalism. He also acknowledges that he was taking medication for mental illness.
During the length of the trial, Gardner has not missed an opportunity to refer to Tate as seriously mentally ill.
Previously, jurors have heard testimony that Tate was unhappy with the response from the sheriff's department to his vandalism complaints.
On the stand, Phillips testified that when he first called Tate on the day of the murder, the now deceased Tate told Phillips that it didnâ??t seem like Techel was such a nice guy after all.
Jurors hear emotional outbursts from Techel video interview
Jurors watch Techel's interview with DCI agent
Jury hears audio recording of Seth Techel interview
Week two of Techel retrial under way