The prosecution called its final witness Wednesday at the Seth Techel murder trial at the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant. Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations criminologist Victor Murillo, a firearms expert, was the final witness to take the stand for the prosecution in the now eight-day old trial. Murillo confirmed that the Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun found in tall grass about 90 feet from the front door of the Techel home on May 27th– one day after Lisa Caldwell Techel’s murder – was indeed the weapon that was used to kill Lisa Techel. Murillo also confirmed that Lisa was killed with a deer slug fired from the gun, and that deer slugs found in the home matched the deer slug pieces removed from Lisa’s dead body.
The gun belongs to Lucas Howell, a roommate of the Techels for six months. Howell had moved out weeks earlier but had left his gun at the Techel residence.
In earlier testimony, the jury heard from Chief State Medical Examiner Julia Goodin, and saw autopsy photos of Lisa Techel. Goodin examined Lisa’s body after her death. She confirmed Lisa’s death was a homicide and was caused by a gunshot wound to the chest area. She also said that Lisa’s unborn child had no abnormalities and that Lisa was between 15 and 20 weeks pregnant. There were no defense wounds, and the angle of the wound was consistent with Lisa laying on her right side when shot, and consistent with the shot being fired from the foot of the bed as she slept. Goodin said Lisa and the child died quickly – within minutes of being shot – because the slug hit Lisa’s left lung and she couldn’t breathe.
Also Wednesday, DCI agent Richard Crivello, a fingerprint expert, testified that the only identifiable prints found in the home were those of Seth Techel, friends and frequent visitors Colton Millard and Tyler Batterson, and Howell.
Also Wednesday, DCI DNA expert Sabrina Seehafer testified that one strand of hair found on Lisa’s palm belonged to Seth and there was no confirmed DNA evidence of anyone else being at the house the morning of the murder.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the jury was shown video of Seth’s interrogation by authorities. Although Seth’s story regarding his relationship with Rachel McFarland changed throughout, his story about what happened that morning remained consistent.