The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 1, 2013

Techel trial moving, but where?

OTTUMWA — Both prosecution and defense want to move the retrial of State v. Seth Techel to "escape media coverage," though they have not yet come to a decision on a new venue.

A mistrial was declared last month in State v. Seth Techel. Techel was charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the death of his wife, Lisa Caldwell Techel, and their unborn child at their home in rural Agency last May.

Judge Daniel Wilson said at a hearing Monday afternoon that he will file a ruling for change of venue, though it will not include a new location for the retrial because he needs input from counsel and court administration as to what their schedules will allow.

Wilson said he understands a possible date for the retrial is contingent upon new witnesses the defense may call, as well as their request for a transcript of the nearly three-week trial that ended on March 15.

"Obviously it's a difficult balance getting far enough away to escape some media attention, but not so far away that it inconveniences family members and witnesses," said state prosecutor Andy Prosser.

Prosecutors filed a motion requesting a change of venue for the retrial due to "extensive coverage in the media this case has received," Prosser said.

"I think the court knows and anyone during the trial realizes that coverage of the trial was the front page story every single day of the three weeks of evidence and to a lesser extent during jury deliberations," Prosser said. "Because of the two families who are involved in this matter, there was already a vast amount of public knowledge and I think that complicated the selection of the jury. Now with the first trial behind us, I think it would be difficult or impossible to find 12 jurors who have not heard and/or expressed opinions about this case."

While the prosecution wants the retrial to be held elsewhere, Prosser said he doesn't believe it's appropriate for the prosecution and defense to choose possible counties because it "invites foreign shopping."

Gardner agreed that coverage of the trial "prevents the defendant from receiving a fair trial in Wapello County."

Prosecution suggested either Henry or Lee County be considered as possible venues for the retrial. Gardner said Henry County is still too close, but that Lee County could be a viable option.

"It seems to me that we're stuck until we know locations that have available court time," Gardner said.

Techel has also waived his right to a retrial within 90 days of the declaration of a mistrial. He also waived his right to a trial within one year of being arraigned, which occurred on July 13.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

  • Civil War Round Table visited by baseball historian OTTUMWA — The Civil War Round Table was treated to a special guest Thursday night and a presentation about how baseball during the Civil War era helped shape Iowa as we know it. John Liepa, former history and political science professor at Des Moines

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints