MT. PLEASANT — The morning of the first day of the Techel retrial consisted of choosing a jury. But that's not done.
Seth Techel, 23, of Agency, is charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the shooting death of his wife, Lisa Caldwell Techel, at their rural Agency home in May 2012.
The retrial starting today in Henry County comes after a jury in Wapello County was unable to come up with a unanimous verdict in State v. Seth Techel. That trial lasted about a month. Techel has remained incarcerated since his arrest, which took place about a week after the shooting.
Both prosecution and defense had agreed that intense media coverage meant this second trial would have to be held elsewhere. Henry County is about an hour from Ottumwa.
At the Henry County Courthouse Monday, potential jurors filled nearly every seat in the courtroom. Some benches, however, held members of Lisa Caldwell Techel's family, as well as Seth Techel's family. The defendant was in the courtroom as well.
The first part of the morning was spent allowing potential jurors to explain why they should be excused from jury duty. A few were released. Most were told to stay.
Reactions from individuals conducting other business at the Henry County Courthouse on Monday may help illustrate the difference the change in venue has made. At three different times, someone asked a deputy or clerk whether there was "some sort of trial" going on.
Jury selection continues after lunch.