Police speculate on possible motive in IU murder

Daniel Messel
Daniel Messel (Provided Photo/Indiana State Police)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Daniel Messel was recently charged in Hannah Wilson’s death, but he has a criminal background that goes back decades.

His criminal record is all over the spectrum from and ranges from check forgery to battery on both men and women.

In 1988, Messel was accused of cashing stolen checks.

One year later, he was charged with a felony for hitting a woman.

In July of 1991, he hit and kicked a man while intoxicated. A month later, Messel was accused of assaulting another person, this time a woman.

In 1993, Messel violated his probation for drinking.

In 1994, Messel is accused of chasing two men in his vehicle. This resulted in charges of criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident.

In 1995, Messel engaged in a fight with a man and his wife. According to court documents, he punched the man and beat him. When his wife stepped in to assist her husband,  Messel attacked her.

He hit her in the face, knocked her to the ground and sat on her while he continued to punch her in the face. Messel then grabbed a two by four, and beat the woman in the head. She suffered a broken nose and a severed artery in her scalp.

In 1996, a judge sentenced Messel to 14 years in prison.

In the case of Hannah Wilson, the coroner said she died of blunt force trauma to the head after being struck multiple times. The coroner said there was no evidence of sexual assault, but police said an explosive temper is a possible motive.

“I think the court documents would support that. But again, that’s something in his past. If prosecutors want to present that forthcoming in trial, or whatever, they’re going to have to do that themselves,” said Sgt. Curt Durnil of the Indiana State Police.

Messel pleaded not guilty. He is behind bars at the Brown County jail without bond. His trial is set for July 22.

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