Techel back in court
Seth Techel will stand trial a third time for First Degree Murder, but when and where that trial will take place is still up in the air.
Judge Daniel Wilson held a hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse Monday afternoon to hear from both the state and the defense on a variety of issues related to the retrial of Techel for the murder of his wife, Lisa Caldwell Techel, in May of 2012.
First up was Techelâ??s current defense attorney, Steven Gardner. Gardner asked that the court reduce his clientâ??s bail from $750,000 cash only to $75,000.
Gardner argued to the court that his clientâ??s due process rights are being violated every day that he is held in jail on three quarters of a million dollar bond in a case in which the prosecution couldnâ??t convict him in two attempts.
Assistant State Attorney General Scott Prosser resisted that motion, saying that Techel is a flight risk and that members of the Caldwell family are afraid of what the 23-year-old Agency man might do if he is released from custody.
Judge Wilson didnâ??t offer an immediate ruling on the bond issue.
Next Wilson heard Gardnerâ??s request that he be permitted to withdraw from the case, citing both economic and health reasons.
Gardner wants Des Moines attorney Jake Feuerhelm appointed to the case at the stateâ??s expense.
The prosecution didnâ??t object to the defense motion, in fact, going so far as to praise Feuerhelmâ??s abilities as an attorney.
The court didnâ??t rule on that motion either, but it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Feuerhelm will be at the defense table for the third trial.
The court asked both parties for their input on a change of venue. Prosser said the stateâ??s preference is to move the trial to Marengo in Iowa County. Prosser argued that Marengo is the most convenient location for both lawyers and witnesses and that potential jurors in Marengo have not been subject to the intense media coverage of the case.
The defense indicated that it preferred to move the trial to Keokuk, in Lee County, or to Muscatine.
As for timing, the prosecution is pressing for a trial starting the first week of January 2014. The defense did not offer an opinion on the start date during Mondayâ??s proceedings.
Judge Wilson took all of the motions under advisement but didnâ??t indicate when he might rule on any of the outstanding issues.