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TECHEL TRIAL: Defense Rests Case

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The fate of a Wapello County man is almost in the hands of a jury.  After nine days of testimony, both sides rested their case in the Seth Techel murder trial.

Techel's defense is trying to convince the jury that he's not guilty of murder.  The 22 year old defendant did not take the stand.  His attorneys offered testimony that a neighbor could have shot and killed Lisa Caldwell Techel last May.

“He was paranoid,” says Wapello County Deputy Don Phillips.

Witnesses describe Brian Tate`s state of mind in the days leading up to the shooting.

“Brian was not sleeping at night.  He was staying the garage.  [His mom] mentioned something about his medication,” says neighbor Rod Stevens.

Tate suffered from Schizophrenia, but the state argues there`s another reason for his agitation.  Techel`s friends were vandalizing his house.  Authorities ruled him out as a murder suspect.

Tate can`t defend himself in court because he died last fall.  Prosecutors played his recorded interview with investigators.  On the tape, he swears he had nothing to do with the shooting and that he was in bed asleep at the time.

“If I was sworn on a stack of Bibles in the court system, I would still say ‘No, I didn`t do it,’” Tate tells the deputy.

The state claims Techel killed his pregnant wife because he wanted to be with another woman.  Rachel McFarland testified that Techel told her that he was going to ask for a divorce the day of the shooting.

While Techel didn`t take the stand in his own defense, the jury heard from him again.  This time on the 911 call when he reported his wife had been shot and wasn't breathing.  Techel tells dispatchers he was in the shower at the time.

The jury will return Monday morning for closing arguments before determining Techel`s guilt or innocence.