The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 27, 2013

12 p.m. Trial update: Murder weapon brought to court

(Continued)

OTTUMWA —

The defense has yet to cross examine Halverson.

Michael Schakel, who met both Techel and Rachel McFarland, the woman with whom Techel has been romantically linked, through his job as a security officer at the Ottumwa Job Corps site, was the day's first witness.

According to Schakel, McFarland did not work the same shifts as he and Techel. He noticed Techel had more than one cell phone with him and asked about it. Techel eventually admitted to using the cell phone to communicate with McFarland.

Techel showed Schakel text messages and photos from the cell phone, including one in which McFarland was wearing a swimsuit. Techel said he had feelings for McFarland.

While Schakel did not know Lisa Techel, Seth's wife, he did overhear an argument via cell phone between them. Afterwards, Techel told Schakel it would be "easier if she was in a car wreck and died."

When asked why he didn't get a divorce, Schakel said Techel didn't want to pay child support or risk hurting his relationship with her father.

Defense attorney Steven Gardner questioned how authoritative Schakel's assessment of Techel's relationship with McFarland could be. Schakel said under cross examination he had not met McFarland until September of last year.

It's an important point for the defense, which has argued Techel's relationship with McFarland never progressed to the point where it could be called an affair.

"You never observed Rachel McFarland with Seth Techel?" Gardner asked

"No." Schakel replied.

 

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