Victim’s, suspect’s friends testify in murder trial

At about 1 a.m. April 24, 2015, outside Kilroy’s Sports on Walnut Street, a man handed cab driver Wes Yeatman $20 and told him to take Hannah Wilson home to Eighth Street. He wasn’t given a specific address.

Wilson, 22, had been with varying groups of friends from 5 p.m. April 23 on, drinking and celebrating Indiana University’s Little 500 weekend and the fact that she’d be graduating in a couple weeks.

She did not want to leave Kilroy’s Sports Bar, Yeatman testified. “She was begging to stay. She was begging the man in the beard to go with her,” he said.

That man was Alex Wojno, Wilson’s ex-boyfriend whom she had been with that night.

Shortly after 1 a.m., Yeatman dropped Wilson off at the corner of Eighth and Dunn streets. She walked between two cars to Yeatman’s left, toward her home.

He did not see her walk into her home.

Yeatman had initially told police that he had watched Wilson go inside, but later realized after he drove down Eighth Street again that there were only apartment buildings on the street, not a house. Wilson lived in a house with five other women.

Eighth Street is dark; there aren’t many street lights, Yeatman and others testified.

A vehicle with similar characteristics to defendant Daniel Messel’s Kia Sportage can be seen in surveillance video taken from the Showers Inn Bed and Breakfast on Eighth Street, driving behind the taxi that would drop Wilson off at Eighth and Dunn.

Yeatman told the court during Messel’s trial in Brown Circuit Court this week that he no longer works as a taxi driver. “Right now, my daughter is 25 and I quit E2 Taxi. It caused me to quit.”


Wojno and Wilson had visited the Hilton Garden Inn together the night she disappeared, before heading out to Kilroy’s Sports on Walnut Street.

Wojno and other friends decided Wilson was too drunk to enter Kilroy’s. Another friend, Tyler Dunlap, testified that he helped put Wilson’s shoes on her before leaving the hotel.

Her blood-alcohol content was .225 at the time of her death, according to Dr. George Weir, who testified this week. That’s nearly three times the legal limit for a driver.

Dunlap was later interviewed three times by ISP detectives. He had sent Wilson sexually explicit text messages around two hours after Dunlap, Wojno and others decided to send Wilson home in the cab.

Lead Detective Michael Z. Robbins testified that in reviewing text messages from Wilson’s phone, Dunlap was not as forthcoming about the texts in his initial interview.

“Was Tyler Dunlap’s cellphone found under Hannah Wilson’s dead body?” Deputy Prosecutor James T. Roberts countered.

“No,” Robbins replied.

Dunlap was one of more than 10 friends who testified Tuesday and Wednesday about Wilson’s activities the night she disappeared.

Colt Burnette was the last person she called at around 1 a.m. He was drinking and listening to music at the Bluebird in Bloomington and couldn’t hear what Wilson was saying. He hung up the phone and sent her a text at 1:06 a.m.

Wilson never replied.

At 1:30 a.m. April 24, Matthew Molewyck, who described himself as one of Wilson’s best friends, sent Wilson a text saying he was disappointed in her because he did not want her to be with somebody who disrespected her. He meant Wojno.

Molewyck and Wilson had not seen each other that night, he testified. “I felt bad because that was the last thing she read from me,” he said.

The next day at 9 p.m., Burnette learned Wilson had been murdered.

Burnette said he saved all text messages with Wilson, her friends and her roommate in an effort to help police.

Attorney Dorie Maryan’s defense has been to poke holes into the police’s investigation. She said the police focused in early and intensely on her client and didn’t follow up on other possible leads.

She asked Burnette and some of Wilson’s other male friends if police had asked him them submit a DNA sample or fingerprints. They did not, the men said.

Robbins stated that the ISP didn’t feel that was necessary.

He said the college students, and other suspects, were interviewed “to make sure the gentleman we had in custody at the time was the correct person.”

‘Worried about him’

Police contacted two members of Messel’s trivia group after finding Messel’s cellphone underneath Wilson’s lifeless feet, in a vacant lot in northern Brown County the morning of April 24.

Professor Jennifer Lentz and Aulaire Schmitz testified that they played trivia with Messel at Yogi’s Bar and Grill April 23.

Their waitress testified that Messel drank about two or three beers during the couple of hours he was there. Lentz said he wasn’t drinking to excess.

The group began playing around 9 p.m. and left together around 11 p.m.

Messel dropped Brighton off at his home, but not before driving past Kilroy’s Sports Bar.

“We decided to go that way because you never know what you’re going to see on Little 500,” Brighton said.

Police called Lentz looking to identify the phone number.

“I became concerned for Dan because the things the detective told me sounded concerning. I was worried about him, at which point I called Matt Brighton, because I know that Matt and Dan worked together. I called Matt asking Matt if I could talk to Dan because I thought Dan would be at work there with Matt,” she testified.

But Messel wasn’t at work, which concerned Lentz even more. “At that point I Googled Dan’s address and I drove to his house,” she said.

She made her way out to rural Ison Road where Messel lived with his father. She hadn’t met his father or been to his house before.

Lentz testified there were about three police vehicles and “quite a few” police officers already there at around 3 p.m.

Police took him into custody after 5:30 p.m. They also seized a bag of clothing, which police said contained a Cincinnati Reds T-shirt with Messel’s blood on it.

A red IU pullover sweatshirt was found in the back of his vehicle that would later be determined to have Wilson’s blood on it. It is what Messel was wearing when he left Yogi’s the night of April 23.

Adams said the blood spatters in Messel’s vehicle were so numerous, he wanted jurors to be able to see the vehicle in person. They were to do that Friday afternoon.

The flashlight

Wilson’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Police did not recover a murder weapon.

Brighton, Messel’s co-worker at Fine Print printing center in Bloomington, testified that Messel had told him about owning a Maglite flashlight. He believed Messel carried it in his vehicle, but he had never seen it, though he rode with him often.

Maryan had asked the judge keep any reference to Messel owning the flashlight from being discussed in front of jurors.

Weir, who did Wilson’s autopsy, told police that the murder weapon could be something cylindrical, like a pipe, baseball bat or a large stick.

The judge allowed the flashlight to be mentioned.

After hearing about Wilson’s body being found and Messel’s arrest, Brighton said he called the ISP to talk about the flashlight.

Why? “I heard on the news how the girl was killed,” he said.