Titonka man’s murder trial pushed back to April

GARNER — The murder trial of a Titonka man accused of murdering a Ventura woman in Britt earlier this year has been moved from January to April.

57-year-old Monte Eckels was charged with first-degree murder after being accused of fatally stabbing Leallen Bergman while inside a residence at 275 4th Street Southeast in Britt on the night of March 4th.

Eckels’ lawyers in November filed court documents stating that they would rely on a defense of diminished responsibility, which by definition means they contend Eckels has some form of mental disorder sufficient to reduce moral culpability in the act.

Eckels’ trial was scheduled to start on January 24th, but according to court documents filed last week, the trial is now scheduled to take place starting on April 22nd in Hancock County District Court.

If convicted of first-degree murder, a Class A felony, Eckels would face the rest of his life in prison without the opportunity for parole.