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
  • 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
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 Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military
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