The prosecution will continue to make its case against Seth Techel this morning at Techel’s murder trial at the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant.
Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Prosser and Scott Brown made a compelling argument against Techel on Monday afternoon, when the prosecution called Lisa Caldwell Techel’s father, sheriff’s deputy Todd Caldwell, to the stand. Seth Techel is charged in the murder of Caldwell’s daughter and their unborn child. A Wapello County jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the case earlier this year.
Todd Caldwell choked back tears at first, and at one point he broke down crying, as he described his daughter. Lisa was a correctional officer at the Washington County Jail and drove almost 180 miles round trip each day. Her father said that she always told him she was going to make him proud. He also said that before May 26th, 2012 – the date of Lisa’s death – he had loved Seth like a son.
The jury was shown two dashboard cam videos of Caldwell interacting with Brian Tate as a part of his duties as deputy sheriff on April 24th and again on May 15th. Tate is a neighbor of the Techels who is described as mentally unstable. Tate had called Caldwell to complain about vandalism done to his property. Caldwell didn’t know it at the time, but that vandalism had been orchestrated by Seth Techel, who had asked four young friends to “mess with” Tate’s yard. The friends did just that, dumping buckets of dog manure on Tate’s vehicle and porch and throwing rocks at Tate’s shed.
Also testifying Monday was Michael Schakel. Schakel worked with Techel as a security guard at Job Corps in Ottumwa, and told the jury that Techel told him about his relationship with Rachel McFarland, and that he was in love with her. Schakel said that at one point Techel told him that his life would be better if his wife, Lisa, would “just get into a car accident and die.” When Schakel wondered why Seth didn’t just get a divorce, Seth said that he didn’t want to ruin his relationship with his father-in-law, Todd Caldwell, who was helping Techel get a job at the Wapello County Sheriff’s office.