Crime Watch 8

Appeals court upholds Daniel Messel’s sentence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An appeals court has affirmed the conviction and sentencing of Daniel Messel, a man convicted of murdering Indiana University student Hannah Wilson.

Messel had appealed the case, saying that certain evidence should not have been admitted and that the sentence was inappropriate. He received an 80-year sentence in the case.

The ruling opinion read, in part:

Messel devotes much of his argument to a claim that the trial court overlooked several mitigating circumstances, but we do not review this argument under Appellate Rule 7(B). Consequently, he has waived it. Waiver notwithstanding, he argues that the trial court should have found his physical and mental health to be a mitigator, but fails to explain how this alleged state of affairs relates to his murder of Hannah or is relevant to sentencing. He also argues that his close relationship with his father and nephew should have been a mitigator, but fails to explain why this is relevant to sentencing. Third, he contends that the fact that his criminal history is remote should have been a mitigator, but the trial court observed that the remoteness of his criminal history somewhat mitigated his criminal history. Fourth, he argues that the fact that he expressed sorrow for the loss suffered by the victim’s family should have been a mitigator, but fails to explain why this is relevant to sentencing. Finally, he notes that he was willing to waive a jury trial for the habitual offender phase of his trial, but this waiver would have saved the State and the jurors little time and effort because they had already handled a multiple-day jury trial, were already present, and the State had already prepared for the hearing. Consequently, we find no error for any of these reasons.”

Wilson’s battered body was found on April 24, 2015 in a vacant lot. She had been out with friends the previous evening after completing her final exam before graduation.

Messel’s cell phone was located near her body. When Indiana State Police located Messel, he was found carrying a garbage bag out to his car that was found to have bloody clothing in it, including Wilson’s DNA.

Her blood, hair and DNA were found on the inside and outside of Messel’s car.

After a multi-day trial, Messel was found guilty on August 10, 2016. He was sentenced on September 22, 2016.

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