Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

Features
AP Video
Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Two Huge Fires Burning in Northern California Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Arts, Humanities Awards Handed Out at WH Former Va. Governor's Corruption Trial Begins Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video $15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Maine Police Investigate Deaths of Family of 5 UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results