Indiana Daily Student

Messel trial set back to Aug. 1

Mugshot of Daniel E. Messell, 49, of Bloomington, charged with the murder of 22-year-old Hannah Wilson.
Mugshot of Daniel E. Messell, 49, of Bloomington, charged with the murder of 22-year-old Hannah Wilson.

Judge Judith Stewart decided to keep the decision on whether or not to have Daniel Messel’s murder trial, now set for Aug. 1, in Brown County under advisement 
Wednesday.

Stewart, along with Prosecutor Ted Adams and Defense Attorney Dorie Maryan, examined a pool of test jurors today to check for potential bias.

Almost a year ago, Maryan requested a change of venue in fear Brown County would not be able to produce an impartial jury.

She cited media coverage that connected Messel to Lauren Spierer and Jill Behrman despite there being no evidence as a reason why jurors might be prejudiced against Messel.

Today, Stewart’s decision still stands to wait and see how the actual jury turns out to be before deciding a change of venue. However, she said the test jurors didn’t give her any reason to believe Brown County won’t be able to produce a fair jury.

“The change of venue is not granted at this point,” Stewart said. “It will be held under advisement until we get our actual jury. I heard nothing here today that makes me think we will not be able to hold it here”

Stewart said only about 50 percent had any hints of bias and many of them understood that even though they had heard of connections between Messel and Spierer that they were only speculation.

To close out, Stewart thanked both parties for their patience during a process she described as a difficult and rare process.

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