For the second time in 11 months, Seth Techel’s life is now in the hands of a jury of his peers.
Techel is charged with shooting his wife in their home last year. His first ended as a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict.
In both trials, Brian Tate’s sister has sat in the courtroom while defense attorneys accused her late brother of murder.
Techel’s former neighbor, Brian Tate, isn’t the one on trial in Henry County, but it doesn’t feel like that to his sister, Cheri Lyons.
“They have ruined his reputation,” Lyons says.
Techel claims an intruder shot his pregnant wife, Lisa, and his defense says Tate could be the killer.
“Not only was he mentally ill – he had been mentally ill for a long time,” jurors heard the defense say.
Even if they didn’t believe his claims of innocence at first, authorities cleared him as a suspect.
“The only connection between Brian Tate and this case is that he lived next door and the defendant poked him with a stick and then blamed the murder of his wife on him,” Assistant Iowa Attorney General Andy Prosser says.
“Brian was a very loving person,” Lyons says. “Yes he was mentally ill, but like he told his doctors, ‘just because I’m mentally ill doesn’t mean I’m a murderer.’”
Lyons says both trials have taken a toll on her family especially her mother, and she wants people to know the truth about her brother.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly if had a chance to. I love my brother 100%. I wish he was here to defend himself.”
Tate can’t defend himself. He died last September from unknown causes. The defense wanted to present testimony about the circumstances surrounding his death, but the judge didn’t allow it
The jury deliberated for just 45 minutes before adjourning for the day, Wednesday.