The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

April 30, 2013

Venue, date set in Techel retrial Prosecution suggests Henry Co. to escape intense media coverage

(Continued)

Gardner suggested, though, that the prosecutors were "forum shopping" and asked instead that the retrial be held in Muscatine, approximately two hours east 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.

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