Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

February 28, 2013

Ottumwa murder trial focuses on autopsy

OTTUMWA — Seth Techel's murder trial resumed Thursday with prosecutors focused on Lisa Techel's autopsy.

Dr. Julia Goodin, the state's chief medical examiner, conducted the autopsy. She was called both to provide evidence and to undermine earlier defense points.

The defense has repeatedly pointed to witness testimony that Lisa's body was still warm when first responders arrived at the Techel house. The implication from the defense is that such condition indicates Seth Techel quickly called 9-1-1 after she was shot.

Prosecutors contend Techel's call was nowhere near as fast as the defense says. In opening arguments prosecutor Andy Prosser said he waited 18 minutes before calling for help.

When asked whether a body's temperature allows examiners to establish a precise time of death, Goodin replied "absolutely not."

"While we would like to be able to say exactly when a person died, and they can do that on television, we really can't do that," she said.

The point was important enough for defense attorney Steven Gardner to return to it during his cross examination.

"Did you make a determination on the time of death?" he asked. Goodin said no.

"Did you attempt to make a determination?" he asked. Goodin again said she did not.

Goodin's testimony was preceded by a cautionary comment from Judge Daniel Wilson. He warned the people in the audience the testimony would be graphic and urged people to leave the courtroom if they felt the need to do so.

"There's not a problem, it's not going to disrupt anything," he said.

The slug that killed Lisa Techel entered directly under her armpit. Goodin said the fragments went through her lung and a major artery. She said the angle of the wound is consistent with the shot being fired from the foot of the bed as she slept.

Death, Goodin said, came quickly, "probably within minutes, but we can never be certain of that."

Prosecutors followed Goodin's testimony by calling Bryan Baum, a reserve deputy who was ordered to watch the Techel property after family was allowed to return. He wore a camouflage suit to hide his presence.

After returning to the property, Techel entered the yard with his father, Doug Techel. (Disclosure: Doug Techel is the Courier's circulation director.) They went to a tree near where the shotgun that killed Lisa Techel was found.

"As it moved closer you could start to make out what they said. As they came to the location where the gun was found I saw Seth Techel come to the tree and lean against the tree with his arm. He continued the conversation with his father," Baum said.

Baum testified Techel told his father, "They seemed to walk around here a lot," after they reached the tree. Doug Techel responded that that was the job for the investigators.

"From the tree he walked a couple steps around into the grass," Baum said.

Prosecutors contend it was not an accident Techel went to the location the gun was found. The defense argued previously he was drawn to a painted "X" on the tree. Gardner asked Baum if that was indeed the tree Techel approached, which Baum confirmed.

Additional testimony in the morning came from Lucas Howell, who lived with Seth and Lisa Techel prior to her death. Howell was the owner of the shotgun used in the killing.

Howell testified both he and Seth Techel had used the gun previously, and that the gun remained at the Techel home after he moved out to have shoulder surgery.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 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

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

Features
AP Video
Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Crowds Rally at '420' Celebration in Denver Marathoners Celebrate Easter With Tradition Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Events
Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
Other
     View Results