Techel trial to move outside Wapello County, but where is left undetermined
There was no decision on a change of venue for the second murder trial of Seth Techel.
Techel's first trial ended in a mistrial after a jury could not come to an unanimous decision last month. Techel is charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the shooting death of his wife, Lisa, and their unborn child in May 2011.
At a hearing at the Wapello County Courthouse Monday afternoon, Judge Dan Wilson said he will file a ruling to change the venue of a retrial, however, he cannot yet determine where and when the trial will take place.
"I'm going to give further thought to where most appropriate the case can be moved and at this juncture, going to leave it up to further discussion between council, court administration and me when the trail would happen," Judge Wilson said.
State prosecutor Andrew Prosser filed the change of venue motion because he believes the extensive media coverage of Techel's first trial, as well as the prominence of the family and the case in the community, will make finding a second jury very difficult. Defense attorney Steven Gardner agreed that retrying Techel in Wapello County would not result in a fair trial.
The difficulty lies in finding a county far enough away from where the original media attention occurred to find potential jurors who have not yet formed opinions about the case, but not too far to inconvenience family members and witnesses.
The state offered Henry County as a possible venue in their request, however, the defense argued that two counties over is still too close.
A date for the trial was not set either, however, Techel waived his right to be tried within 90 days of the declaration of a mistrial, and waived his right to be tried within one year of his arraignment, which was in July of 2012.