Defense attorney: Neighbor killed Techel
(AP) — A former Iowa jail guard was the only person with an opportunity and motive to kill his pregnant wife, said a prosecutor Wednesday during opening arguments in Henry County District Court in the man’s second trial on first-degree murder.
Scott Brown said only Seth Techel was inside the trailer he shared with his wife, Lisa Techel, when she was shot in May 2012, the Ottumwa Courier reported.
“Who murdered Lisa Techel? The evidence in this case will show that it was Seth Techel,” Brown said.
He also noted that Seth Techel waited 18 minutes after his wife was shot to call 911 for help.
“Someone who is truly in a panic would not take 18 minutes to call for help,” Brown said.
Defense attorney Steven Gardner refuted the time lapse. He questioned the prosecution’s assessment of when Lisa Techel was shot. He also noted that Seth Techel let the dog out, spoke with his wife, and was in the shower for several minutes before he heard a gunshot.
“For whatever reason the state did not say anything in their opening statement about fact,” Gardner said.
Gardner also said authorities failed to pursue other suspects, including a neighbor who had previous disagreements with Seth Techel. Defense attorneys have previously argued that neighbor may have killed Lisa Techel.
Prosecutors have previously argued that Seth Techel killed his wife to be with another woman.
Techel, 23, is charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy. Lisa Techel was several months pregnant when she died.
Several witnesses testified after opening arguments, including a retired 911 dispatcher who took Seth Techel’s initial call on the morning of the death. A paramedic also testified about being one of the first people on the scene, as well as Wapello County Sheriff’s Marty Wonderlin.
A judge declared a mistrial in the first trial in March, after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The second trial was moved out of Wapello County to nearby Henry County because of publicity surrounding the case.