The Ottumwa Courier

February 26, 2014

Techel appeals bond, hopes to be released


Ottumwa Courier

---- — DES MOINES (AP) — A former Iowa jail guard charged with murder in the 2012 death of his pregnant wife has appealed a district court judge’s bond to the Iowa Supreme Court in hopes of being released before his third trial begins, his attorney said Tuesday.

Seth Techel, 23, remains jailed on a $750,000 cash-only bond. He is charged with first-degree murder and nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy in the May 2012 death of his wife, Lisa Techel. She was five months pregnant when she was found shot in the couple’s trailer in the southeast Iowa community of Agency.

Techel has been jailed since his arrest and both of his trials have ended in a mistrial. A third is set for July 14 in Davenport.

Techel’s attorney, Jake Feuerhelm said he’s asked the state Supreme Court for an expedited review of the bond amount that keeps Techel behind bars. The appeal was filed Monday.

Techel’s attorneys requested in November that the bond be lowered to $75,000. Prosecutors fought it, contending that Techel was a flight risk, and the victim’s family would fear for their safety if he was released on bond. Techel’s attorneys have argued those points are baseless.

Judge Daniel Wilson’s ruling in January that denied Techel a lower bond amount appears to be based solely on the seriousness of the offense, Feuerhelm said.

“The statute says a person charged with first-degree murder can bond out,” Feuerhelm said.

He argues in his appeal that the court could order ankle bracelets, GPS monitors or other frequent monitoring techniques “that would meet the goals of assuring that he appears for trial and that he not be a threat to the public.”

The first trial in Ottumwa ended in mistrial in March 2013 and the second trial, held in Mount Pleasant, ended similarly on Nov. 15. In both trials, jurors said they couldn’t come to a unanimous verdict.

Prosecutors claim Techel was alone in the trailer with Lisa Techel when she was shot and that he wanted to kill his wife to be with another woman.

Defense attorneys said law enforcement officials were sloppy with the collection of evidence, and nothing directly linked Techel to the crime. They said a former neighbor, who is now dead, was a better suspect because of his troubled past with Seth Techel involving vandalism.

Both Seth and Lisa Techel worked in law enforcement. She was a reserve deputy with the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, and he was a jailer.