Friend testifies in trial of ex-jail guard
(AP) — The close friend of a former Iowa jail guard on trial in Henry County District Court for the death of his pregnant wife said in court Friday that he warned his friend that he should stop his relationship with another woman.
Colton Millard testified that he told Seth Techel he disapproved of his relationship with Rachel McFarland, the Ottumwa Courier reported. Techel was married at the time to Lisa Techel.
“I told him that he was stupid and he needed to stop,” Millard said. “He knew it was stupid. He shook his head, like ‘I know.’”
Techel is charged with first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy in the May 2012 death of Lisa Techel. She was found shot inside the couple’s trailer in Agency, located in southeast Iowa.
Prosecutors have presented Seth Techel as a man who wanted to end his marriage to be with McFarland.
Millard said he was aware of a second phone that Seth Techel kept to converse with McFarland. Techel once showed Millard a picture of McFarland without a T-shirt, Millard said.
During cross-examination from the defense, Millard said Techel seemed excited about the baby.
“He didn’t care what it was,” Millard said. “He just wanted it to be healthy.”
A man who said he was involved with McFarland also testified Friday. Drew Ballard said the couple was living together when he found emails on their home computer from a man named Rick Jones. The couple discussed the content of the emails, which Ballard described as concerning.
Michael Halverson, a criminalist for the state Department of Criminal Investigation, was the last witness. He testified about how he documented and photographed evidence from the crime scene.
Prosecutor Andy Prosser questioned Halverson about the murder weapon. Defense attorney Steve Gardner asked Halverson on his notes about a neighbor of the Techels whom Gardner has previously argued may have killed Lisa Techel.
Halverson was also questioned about the incorrect time stamp on the camera he was using for documentation, as well as video recorded by his assistant.
Judge Daniel Wilson adjourned the court shortly after that and cited reasons unrelated to the case. The trial will continue today with more testimony from Halverson.