The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 29, 2013

Techel retrial has date and location

OTTUMWA — A new date and venue have been entered in State v. Seth Techel, three months and two counties away.

Defense attorneys Steven Gardner and Robert Box appeared in person in Judge Daniel Wilson's chambers at the Wapello County Courthouse Monday afternoon, while state prosecutors Andy Prosser and Scott Brown and defendant Seth Techel all appeared telephonically.

After suggestions by both parties, Wilson announced he will enter a motion to secure Aug. 12 as the date of retrial, to be held in Mount Pleasant "unless I hear something from court administration that derails that plan."

Prosser suggested Mount Pleasant — county seat of Henry County — as the venue for the retrial as prosecution's "No. 1 pick." The city is approximately one hour east of Ottumwa.

"It's the closest county that takes care of most of the issues we have," Prosser said. "It's also close enough that it won't inconvenience most of the witnesses and families as much as other, more distant potential counties within the district."

He also said through recent "article shopping," he found that the trial did not receive as much media coverage in the Mount Pleasant area as it did in Ottumwa and Wapello County.

Prosser said in the archive of Burlington's "The Hawk Eye," only four articles were found concerning the case. "Mt. Pleasant News," Keokuk's "The Daily Gate" and Fort Madison's "Daily Democrat" all had zero articles related to the case and the "Washington Evening Journal" only had three, Prosser said.

"Publicity has not been widespread in any of the counties under consideration that I can find — certainly nothing like is in the case in Ottumwa," Prosser said.

Gardner suggested, though, that the prosecutors were "forum shopping" and asked instead that the retrial be held in Muscatine, approximately two hours northeast of Ottumwa. Gardner said Henry County, which is located two counties east of Wapello County, is still too close and is an "inappropriate venue."

Wilson asked Gardner if he had any basis for alleging that prosecutors were forum shopping.

"I think the distance alone is reason, that it's too close," Gardner said.

Wilson didn't agree.

"I don't think any party here is necessarily 'forum shopping,'" Wilson said. "I understand they might want to, but I don't think anybody is really doing that. I think there's a need to select a county generally outside the [Ottumwa] Courier's coverage, at least heavy coverage, and outside the Des Moines TV broadcast stations' coverage. I think Henry County would fit for those concerns."

A Wapello County jury found itself deadlocked in March after a month-long trial of Techel's case. Techel, 22, is charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the shooting death of his wife, Lisa Caldwell Techel, and their unborn child at their rural Agency home in May 2012.

At a hearing earlier this month, both prosecution and defense said intense daily media coverage prevented Techel from receiving a fair trial in Wapello County.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 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

  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

  • Three-day forecast Today ... Sunny, with a high near 76. Breezy, with a southeast wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Tonight ... Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Breezy, with a south wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Sunday ... Partly su

    April 18, 2014

  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition