By JAMES GROB, Ottumwa Radio
The prosecution at the Seth Techel murder trial is expected to begin presenting physical evidence against Techel today after spending Thursday attempting to establish motive at the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant.
Prosecuting attorney Andrew Prosser spent Thursday exploring phone records, calling a US Cellular representative and two Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation agents to the stand, who all testified as to the existence of phone records proving a large number of communications between Techel and Rachel McFarland, 23, of Bloomfield, who the prosecution said had an illicit affair with Techel. The prosecution then called McFarland to the stand, and she admitted to the relationship, which started on Facebook, moved to emails, then to text messages. Eventually McFarland and Techel each bought secret Tracfones so they could communicate after Lisa Caldwell Techel and McFarland’s live-in boyfriend had discovered the communications and confronted them. McFarland also said that Lisa Techel had angrily called and confronted her in February of 2012 over the messages.
The prosecution is claiming that Seth Techel’s affair with McFarland is what motivated him to murder his wife on May 26th, 2012. McFarland said that although she and Techel had exchanged hundreds of messages, some with explicit content, they had only met face to face a few times and had just kissed and engaged in heavy petting above the clothing. A DCI affidavit, however, described the relationship as “sexual.”
McFarland told the jury that she had at times told Techel that she wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t divorced from Lisa. She also testified that Seth Techel became angry and jealous when he learned Rachel was interested in another man. At one point on May 20th, 2012, Techel told her “Just give me two more weeks.” Less than one week later, Lisa Caldwell Techel was dead.
Defense attorney Steven Gardner cross-examined McFarland, and questioned why she was even on the stand, as she had no actual knowledge of what had happened the morning of Lisa’s murder. The prosecution is expected to begin presenting both direct and circumstantial evidence today that shows just what did happen that morning.