crime & courts

Proceedings delayed in rape case against Messel

Court proceedings for a new rape charge against Daniel Messel — the man convicted for the 2015 murder of IU student Hannah Wilson — were pushed back from Tuesday until the end of May to allow further investigation and preparation.

Messel, 51, was charged with rape and other lesser charges in October 2016 after DNA evidence linked him to a rape reported in 2012 by an IU student. Messel is currently serving an 80-year sentence in prison for Wilson’s murder.

In the 2012 case, a student reported that a man she did not know offered her a ride after she had been out drinking, according to the probable cause affidavit. He drove her to a secluded parking spot in the woods near Griffy Lake, where he forced his penis into her mouth.

She tried to fight him off, and he hit her so hard it “knocked the contact out of her eye and she was spitting blood.”

He drove away, and the student found help from residents nearby. The woman’s underwear was found at the scene the next day.

After reading a news story about the Wilson case, the 2012 victim felt her case was “eerily similar” and called the IU Police Department to say she believed Messel might be her attacker.

DNA collected in 2012 from under her fingernails was compared to Messel’s, and the samples matched. He was charged with rape only a few weeks after his trial for Wilson’s murder, and he is now appealing his conviction in that case. He has until April 13 to file a brief explaining his reasons for appeal, after which the appeal will be approved or denied.

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