Murder trial date scheduled in Brown Circuit Court

The trial of a man accused of killing an Indiana University student last spring will begin late next month in Brown County, according to online court documents.

The trial of Daniel Messel, 50, of Bloomington, will start with jury questioning July 28.

Messel is charged in the April 2015 beating death of Hannah Wilson of Fishers. Her body was found about 10 miles northwest of Indiana University’s Bloomington campus on Plum Creek Road in northern Brown County.

Despite the arguments of Messel’s lawyer, Judge Judith Stewart ruled June 1 that the juror pool in Brown County is not tainted and that the trial will proceed here.

However, the judge is reserving a final decision on moving the trial until the real jury is questioned.

A test jury of 29 Brown County residents was questioned June 1 to see if bias exists against Messel due to pretrial publicity.

Less than half of them mentioned hearing any kind of allegation linking the defendant to the disappearance of other students, which is what the defense was concerned about.

An inmate in another prison had written letters to the court alleging connections with Messel and other cases, as did a Bloomington news agency. The defense had asked to move the case to a different county where that news had less of a chance of reaching prospective jurors.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.