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CNHI/Southeast Iowa

March 15, 2013

Techel jury ends Thursday without verdict

OTTUMWA — I’m sorry, jurors, but you must keep working.

Judge Daniel Wilson brought the jury into the courtroom after 4 p.m. Thursday.

After just over three days of discussion and review of evidence, they still had not decided on the guilt or innocence of Seth Techel, 22 of Agency. He’s the man charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the shooting death of his wife, Lisa Techel, 23.

Though Judge Wilson did not give details publicly in open court, he told the jury that he had received their written question at 3:30 p.m.

“I do not have an answer for you at this time,” he told jurors.

Furthermore, he said, he would not ask them for any answers to questions he might have about the jury deliberation process that involve “numbers,” and that he does not want them to volunteer information about the jury that would involve “numbers” to him.

He said he would consider their concern, but in the meantime, because of the nature of the case, he must ask them to return to their deliberations. Jurors appeared tired, and at least one seemed to quietly begin crying when the judge told them they’d have to keep debating the evidence.

“I apologize,” Wilson said gently, “but I believe it’s the right thing to do.”

He said he was very appreciative of the hard work they’d put into the case already: The case started with two days of jury selection beginning Feb. 19.

Deliberations started Monday afternoon. Jurors continued debating Tuesday, Wednesday and all day Thursday.

“There are no set rules concerning the duration of jury deliberation,” Judge Wilson said in reference to a general question from the Courier. “It is very much discretionary with the Court, after input from counsel for the parties, how long a jury is permitted to deliberate.”

That’s the general rule for all trials.

More specifically in the State v. Techel case, he said, he had just finished a meeting with the attorneys and Seth Techel present.

That meeting, at 3:30 p.m., was when the decision was made that at least for now, “the jury will be permitted to continue its deliberation.”

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