By JAMES GROB, Ottumwa Radio
(Mt. Pleasant) – It took until late in the afternoon Tuesday, but the jury has finally been selected in the Seth Techel murder trial at the Henry County Court house in Mount Pleasant.
Eight men and eight women will make up the 12 jurors and four alternates when opening statements are made on Wednesday. Techel is charged with murder in the May 2012 death of his pregnant wife, Lisa Caldwell.
Both the defense and the prosecution took a lot of time Monday and Tuesday questioning the panel of 40 potential jurors, and 11 potential jurors were dismissed from the panel for various personal reasons and replaced over that time.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Andrew Prosser was lighthearted and engaging as he questioned jurors through the morning, drawing several laughs from the panel. Defense Attorney Steven Gardner took a much less humorous and more direct tone with the jurors.
“This is not a light matter,” he said. “This is serious.”
He then asked the jury pool if any of them felt a little scared.
“Yes,” said one potential juror. “Someone’s life is in our hands.”
After Gardner questioned the jury all afternoon about such matters as text messaging and firearms expertise, district Judge Dan Wilson decided to “forge ahead” with the final stage of jury selection on Tuesday, rather than bring the entire panel back for a third day.
Once both law teams implemented their 12 “strikes” each, the 16 jurors remaining were sworn in.