Trial of Titonka man accused of murdering Ventura woman in Britt delayed to November

GARNER — The trial of a Titonka man accused of murdering a Ventura woman in Britt earlier this year scheduled to start later this month has been delayed.

57-year-old Monte Eckels is accused of fatally stabbing Leallen Bergman while inside a residence at 275 4th Street Southeast in Britt on the night of March 4th. Eckels was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, a Class A felony punishable by life in prison without the opportunity for parole. Eckels was found competent to stand trial in May after his attorney stated that the defendant had exhibited signs of a mental health disorder.

Eckels was due in court for a pre-trial conference today, but court records show his attorney recently filed for a continuance in the case, stating they needed additional time for discovery. Prosecutors did not resist the defense’s motion. District Judge Colleen Weiland approved the motion and scheduled Eckels’ trial to start on November 29th in Hancock County District Court.