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
  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook