Trial of Titonka man accused of Ventura woman’s murder pushed back to 2024

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

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’ jury trial was scheduled to start on November 29th in Hancock County District Court, but his lawyer on Wednesday filed a motion to delay the trial, asking for additional time to take depositions, file motions, and consult with additional experts. District Judge Colleen Weiland on Thursday granted a motion for a continuance, rescheduling the trial for January 24th.

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.