OTTUMWA — Seth Techel’s attorneys will get access to medical records from the man they say killed Techel’s wife, but the records may never make it to the courtroom.
Techel is accused of killing his wife, Lisa, in 2011 at the couple’s residence near Agency. Prosecutors say Techel, who was in the trailer at the time of the murder but says he never saw the killer, is the only realistic suspect. The defense contends Brian Tate, a neighbor with whom Techel feuded, is a more likely killer.
Two juries have failed to reach a verdict. A third will hear the case beginning next month.
The defense asked Judge Dan Wilson to allow them to subpoena Tate’s mental health records from the Veterans Administration for the five years prior to Tate’s death. Wilson heard arguments from both sides on May 30 and decided to allow the defense access to the records.
But access to records is different from admitting evidence. Medical records are generally not accessible to the public, and you can’t get much more public than evidence at a murder trial. So Wilson will review the records “in camera,” and that closed-door review will lead to a future determination on whether the defense’s right to evidence trumps the privacy of the records.
In other cases:
• Ryan Grimes’ trial on assault charges has been pushed back from July to September.
• Daniel Vandello’s sentencing on charges of burglary has been delayed a month to July 3.
• Brandi Beau Simpson, one of several people who fled from an attempted traffic stop in Ottumwa, has had bond set at $10,000 cash only. Simpson is accused of arson.
• Dimitrious Royal, who faces a charge of attempted murder in Van Buren County, has a hearing scheduled for June 20 on a request to move the trial.