Pella Chronicle

Community News Network

March 6, 2013

Defense recalls prosecution witness

OTTUMWA — Open proceedings at Seth Techel's murder trial started late Wednesday, the second consecutive day in which jurors were not brought into court until well after the normal starting time.

The Tuesday delay was planned. Jurors were instructed not to report until 9:30 a.m. to allow time for the court to hear various motions. But Wednesday's delay involved no such notice.

The discussions, while not open to the public, did include a court reporter, which indicates they were on the record. Attorneys were in Judge Daniel Wilson's chambers until 9:50 a.m., well after court normally convenes. Wilson entered about 10 minutes later, and jurors were brought in shortly afterwards.

One juror was dismissed from the case, though it's not clear whether that was related to the discussions in chambers.

Wednesday is the second day for the defense to present its case. Steven Gardner recalled DCI agent Anthony Birmingham to the stand; Birmingham previously testified for the prosecution.

Gardner called Birmingham in part to reframe the interview between Techel and investigators jurors were shown earlier in the case. In that interview the investigator directly accused Techel of being the murderer and said information from other investigators supported it.

The defense contends that accusation was a bluff, that at the time there was no evidence against Techel. Gardner asked Birmingham whether he supplied the information the interrogator used. Birmingham said he spoke with the other agent but did not recall at what point he did so.

Gardner ran into problems when trying to ask Birmingham about what the Techels' neighbor said to investigators. Andy Prosser, one of two prosecutors, objected multiple times, arguing Gardner was seeking answers that could only be hearsay. Wilson sustained most of those objections.

Similar objections were raised when Gardner questioned Birmingham about the neighbor's sleeping habits. "He's not quesstioning him, he's arguing with him," Prosser said. Wilson sustained the objection.

It is unclear whether Techel will take the stand. The decision belongs to the defense. Defendants in a criminal case have a constitutional guarantee against self incrimination, which means they cannot be compelled to testify against themselves.

Testifying could be the best opportunity to convince jurors of his innocence, but putting a defendant on the stand is something no defense attorney does lightly. Anyone on the stand is subject to cross examination, which means Techel would be asked questions by prosecutors. That's a risk.

Defense attorneys will sometimes indicate whether they plan to call the defendant during opening statements by telling jurors they will hear from them. There was no such indication in the opening statements at this trial, but that does not mean the defense is barred from calling Techel.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

Features
Facebook
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Obituaries