Father of slain daughter offers testimony
(AP) — The father of a slain pregnant Iowa woman was questioned Monday in Henry County District Court during his son-in-law’s murder trial about the couple’s relationship with their neighbor.
Todd Caldwell testified that Seth Techel had been accused of harassment by the neighbor living adjacent to the couple’s trailer, the Ottumwa Courier reported.
Seth Techel is charged with first-degree murder and nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy in the May 2012 death of his wife, Lisa Techel, who was found shot in their southeast Iowa trailer.
Prosecutors say Seth Techel wanted to end his marriage to be with another woman. Defense attorneys say the neighbor may be a suspect in the death.
Caldwell, who worked in the Wapello County Sheriff’s Department, said prior to his daughter’s death, he investigated the harassment report by interviewing the neighbor.
Caldwell said the neighbor showed him rocks that he said were thrown at his property. He also showed Caldwell a can of dog feces he had collected. The neighbor told Caldwell that both were linked to Techel.
“What he was saying and what my son-in-law was saying were different. I tended to believe my son-in-law,” he said.
Caldwell’s comments came after two teenagers testified that Seth Techel asked them to harass the neighbor. Defense attorney Steven Gardner characterized one of the teen’s actions as a prank.
Caldwell was also asked about a report where he said the neighbor called the Techels “possible terrorists.” Caldwell said the neighbor did not call the couple that. He said his conclusion was based on conversations and not a specific accusation by the neighbor.
The defense also asked Caldwell about a comment he made at the scene of his daughter’s death. Caldwell said his “Get him” comment to deputies was a reference to the neighbor.
Both Techels worked in law enforcement. Lisa Techel was a reserve deputy with the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, and Seth Techel was a jailer.
Testimony began last week in Seth Techel’s second trial. His first ended in mistrial in March after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.