The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 1, 2013

Attorneys face off over key testimony

MT. PLEASANT — The defense and the prosecution argued about whether a young woman was a relevant witness in the murder trial of Seth Techel, accused of killing his wife and unborn child.

Rachel McFarland, 23 of Bloomfield, gave what both defense Steve Gardner and prosecutor Andy Prosser acknowledged was difficult testimony concerning details of her love life. And at no point did either side question her honesty in court.

But Gardner asked if at some points, she would agree she had a lot of suitors, young men interested in her attention, and whom she flirted with. It's true, she confirmed, and Seth Techel was one of those young men.

But, questioned Gardner emphatically, that doesn't mean she was having affairs, did it? No, she said, at least not with the married Seth Techel. They did kiss and fondle one another, though it was with clothing on, in public though quiet areas. Touching, she said, stayed outside of the clothing, though it was intimate. McFarland said female parts were touched through the shirt only, and male parts were touched from outside the pants during all the kissing. At one point, the kissing and touching went on for up to half an hour, McFarland acknowledged.

She told Prosser that yes, she did know Seth Techel was married. And she did feel bad about that. In fact, at some points, she told Techel he should try to work things out with Lisa and stay with her, at least until the baby arrived. But McFarland felt she loved him, and he loved her. There were times she'd try to end the relationship, but the two would soon be texting, or Facebooking or emailing flirtatious and romantic messages again. She says Techel told her he would divorce his wife Lisa to be with her. Prosser asked about the days leading up to the shooting of Lisa Caldwell Techel.

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