Techel trial: Defense says someone else killed Lisa

Seth Techel

UPDATE- Seth Techel's fate may come down to whether jurors believe Brian Tate was asleep on the night of the murder.

In a lengthy interview with a Wapello County Sheriff's Deputy and a DCI agent on the afternoon of Lisa Techel's murder, Tate told the officers he was asleep from around 8 p.m on May 25 until about 11 a.m. on May 26.

Wapello County Sheriff's Deputy Don Phillips told the jury that after that interview, Tate was no longer a suspect, despite his history of acrimony with Seth Techel.

On direct examination from Defense Attorney Steven Gardner, Phillips offered this testimony.

Phillips: "Because after talking to Mr. Tate he didn't get up until 11 and I didn't think it was relevant that he referred to them as terrorists. He wasn't the one that did this act."

Gardner: "Because he was asleep?"

Phillips: "Correct"

Jurors were given the opportunity to hear an audiotape of that interview. The interview, which lasts nearly forty five minutes, was conducted on the Tate property, with Brian Tate's mother and brother present.

The defense contends that Tate's alibi is weak, particularly because Tate was known to have been staying up late, attempting to guard his property from vandals.

There will be no testimony in front of a jury on Thursday, Judge Dan Wilson had previously planned a shortened session due to some scheduling conflicts. But this afternoon decided that the court would address some issues outside the presence of the jury and re-start testimony on Friday morning.


Brian Tate was the primary topic of conversation Wednesday morning at the first degree trial of Seth Techel.

He was a neighbor of the Techel's and the defense has pursued the theory that it was Brian Tate who killed Lisa Techel in May of 2012.

The evidence in the trial has shown that Techel and Tate have a history of antagonism towards each other.

First on the stand was DCI Agent Tony Birmingham. Gardner pressed the agent to what degree they considered Tate a suspect. When asked about Tateâ??s alibi for the morning of the murder, the agent testified that Tateâ??s said he had been asleep until about 11 a.m. that morning. A fact Birmingham told jurors had been confirmed by Tateâ??s mother and brother.

Gardner seemed incredulous that agents accepted that alibi, asking Birmingham if that made sense after evidence suggests Tate was spending at least some nights guarding his property from vandals.

Also testifying this morning were Jack and Drucilla Chickering, neighbors of both Tate and the Techel's.

Drucilla told the court that Tate told her that he was schizophrenic and had sometimes had trouble with people.