Former roommate IDs murder weapon

Seth Techel

UPDATE - Thursday afternoon saw emotional testimony in the First Degree Murder trial of Seth Techel.

The father of Techel's slain wife, Lisa took to the stand to talk about his daughter and the events surrounding her death.

Todd Caldwell, who as a Wapello County Deputy was one of the first responders at the scene of his daughter's death last may told jurors that he considered Seth Techel to be like a son.

But it was his thoughts on his daughter that brought a hush to the court room. He described a letter he received after Lisa completed a DCI internship

â??And she wrote a letter to me saying and that I must have been a good father cause girls don't turn out like that by accident. And I just know that everywhere I went that's what everyone told me about Lisa. And everyone would tell me how much Lisa and I are alike and I would just tell everybody that she's the best parts of me,â?? Caldwell said.

As emotional as that testimony was, prosecutors used Caldwell's later testimony to hammer away at the defense theory that the Techel's neighbor, Brian Tate was responsible for the murder.

Caldwell acknowledged that he and other deputies had responded several times to the Tate property, after he complained of vandalism.

Caldwell told the jury at the time he and other deputies considered Tate to be 10-96, or mentally disturbed in police radio speak.

It was only after Lisa's death that Caldwell realized that friends of Seth Techel had in fact been dumping dog feces and throwing rocks on the Tate property.

That fact was confirmed by an earlier witness.

Tyler Batterson, a self described friend of Seth Techelâ??s testified that he and several individuals had at least twice vandalized the Tate property, once after Seth had told them to quote, "go mess with Tate."

On cross examination, defense attorney Steven Gardner tried to get Caldwell to once again paint Tate as a dangerous man, who on at least one occasion was seen with a shot gun.

Brian Tate died in the fall of 2012.

Judge Dan Wilson ended testimony for the day with Caldwell still on the stand.

Court resumes at 9 a.m. on Friday.


There was plenty of dramatic testimony in the first degree murder trial of Seth Techel Thursday morning.

The day's testimony got off to a disturbing start when the state called Iowa Chief Medical Examiner Julia Goodin to the stand.

With the aid of the autopsy photos Goodin told the jury that Lisa Techel died from a single shotgun wound to the left side of her body. Goodin also told jurors that at the time of her death, Techel was pregnant with a perfectly healthy female child about 20 weeks old.

Wapello County Reserve Deputy Bryan Baum then took the stand. On the evening of May 27, Baum was charged with staking out the area where the murder weapon had been found. Police hoped that the suspect might return for the weapon.

While camouflaged and hidden in a nearby wooded area Baum saw Seth Techel and his father Doug approach the area. Baum testified he heard the elder Techel admonish his son.

What did you hear Seth Techel say whenever he got near the tree they sure seemed to walk around a bit? Did Doug Techel respond to that.?

"Yes he responded that's their job buddy. Come on now, you know that if you were on the other side of it what would you do, if you were wearing the badge what would you do you would do your job,â?? Baum said.

The court also heard from Techelâ??s former roommate, Lucas Howell.

Howell told the court, that the gun prosecutors believe was the murder weapon was a 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun he left at the Techel house roughly a week before the death of Lisa Techel.

Howell also told the jury that at the time of the murder he could neither drive nor shot a gun because of recent shoulder surgery.

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