Indiana Daily Student

Blood pattern analyst testifies, jury views Daniel Messel's car on day four of trial

Daniel Messel is led out of the Brown County Courthouse and to a waiting car in Nashville, IN on Friday.
Daniel Messel is led out of the Brown County Courthouse and to a waiting car in Nashville, IN on Friday.

Throughout the last four days, jury members heard testimony about the blood stains, or “spatters,” on the inside and outside of Daniel Messel’s car.

They saw them in person Friday afternoon. Judge Judith Stewart allowed the jury to visit the Brown County Law Enforcement Office where Messel’s 2012 Kia Sportage was being kept.

Messel was accused of murdering IU student Hannah Wilson in April 2015.

With all four doors and the trunk open, jury members could walk around the vehicle. According to a testimony by Sgt. Dean Marks, there were more than 200 blood spatters on the interior drivers side door.

Marks has worked with the Indiana State Police for more than 36 years. He works in the Quality Assurance Division and trains new and current crime scene investigators. Most importantly in this case, Marks has extensive training in blood pattern analysis.

Marks identified blood spatter at the scene where Wilson’s body was found.

He said cast-off blood spatter on Wilson’s body and the grass around her indicates it was generated when she was struck in the back of the head.

Inside Messel’s car, Marks located blood on the steering wheel, center console, dashboard and radio, among other areas.

Marks testified the blood spatter on the interior drivers side door is consistent with blunt force trauma, which was Wilson’s cause of death determined by an autopsy.


Patrick Deckard of the Indiana State Police also took the stand Friday. A specialist in digital forensics, Deckard works with data from cellphones, computers, tablets and other similar devices.

During the investigation, he extracted data from Wilson’s phone and Messel’s phone using a program called Lantern, which organizes the data into categories.

Deckard confirmed information the jury had heard earlier in the trial.

He said Wilson called Colt Burnette, the last person she spoke to at 1:02 a.m. April 24.

Looking at the phone records, Deckard also confirmed Messel texted someone by the name of Matt around 7 p.m. the night before. It said, “I’m here.”

Matthew Brighton played trivia with Messel that night.

The trial will resume Monday morning at 9 a.m.

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