The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

November 1, 2013

Three witnesses take the stand in Techel trial

MT. PLEASANT — Day three of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Seth Techel was filled with three witnesses, all called to the stand by the prosecution and then cross-examined by the defense.

The first, Drew Ballard, 22, of Eldon, had an intimate relationship with Rachel McFarland, 23, of Bloomfield, during the same time as Techel. McFarland and Ballard were, according to him, in a two-year relationship and lived together in Eldon when he found emails on their home computer from a man named Rick Jones.

The emails concerned Ballard, because, according to him, there were a lot of them, and the content concerned him as well. He told McFarland they needed to have a talk and did so in February 2012. Prosecutor Andy Prosser showed the emails as evidence.

After Ballard stepped down, Prosser called his next witness, Colton Millard, 22, of Agency. Millard and Techel had been friends since kindergarten, and he had also known Lisa Techel very well before her death. According to Millard, he would go to the Techel residence very often, even as much as three or four times a week, and he did not have a closer friend at the time than Techel.

The two spent a lot of time hunting and fishing and were both very familiar with guns. Their parents taught them at a young age how to use them safely, and Millard acknowledged that there were several guns present at all times at the Techel residence, including Lisa Techel’s handgun.

Millard was a frequent visitor at the Techel home, whether they were present or not. He kept his blue tick hound dog, Duke, in a shed at the residence and spent a lot of time there shooting guns, playing Xbox and watching television.

According to Millard, he was aware of the relationship between Techel and McFarland and of the second phone Techel used to converse with her. Techel told him the phone was for business and showed Millard a picture of McFarland with her shirt off at one point.

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