Indiana Daily Student

DNA expert analyzes blood stains in Messel trial

Many pieces of evidence including Daniel Messel’s IU pullover, hairs found in his car and Hannah Wilson’s blood-stained shirt were shown before the jury today.

Forensic analyst Michael Raymond, who specializes is serology and DNA, took the stand and testified that many of these pieces of evidence had both Wilson and Messel’s DNA present.

One of the first pieces of evidence, a piece of grass with blood on it from near Wilson’s body tested positive for Wilson’s blood and the blood of an unknown person.

The unknown person was not Messel, which Raymond concluded with an oral swab taken from Messel.

Raymond also testified about the brown Sketcher shoe that Messel was carrying out of his house while arrested. This item contained Wilson’s blood as well. It also had Messel’s DNA and the DNA from an unknown male.

Prosecutor Ted Adams then had Raymond examine Messel’s Cincinnati Reds T-shirt and his jeans, both of which had large samples cut from them for DNA testing. These samples again had blood from Wilson and Messel.

They also had DNA form an unknown person, who Raymond never testified if it was same unknown person that was found on the other samples.

Fingernail clippings from Wilson’s hand also had the DNA of an unknown male. Raymond testified that finding unknown DNA is not uncommon in these types of investigations.

He said though they do everything in their power to prevent contamination it sometimes happens even before his lab receives the items.

Messel’s car, a 2012 Kia Sportage, also had many pieces of evidence sent to the lab for testing. Some hairs found in the car were not able to be tested because they did not have any root material, but those that could be tested matched Wilson’s DNA.

Many red stains in the car also tested positive for Wilson’s blood including the driver’s side door panel. Stains on the steering wheel could not be confirmed as Wilson.

The red IU pullover police found in the backseat also had Wilson and Messel’s blood on it.

Wilson’s gray shirt, which caused Robin Wilson to shake as Adams held it for the jury to see, only contained blood from Wilson. Raymond testified that he could find no DNA that matched Messel.

When Maryan cross-examined Raymond she focused on weaker pieces of DNA evidence. Some of the results had higher odds of testing consistent, such as one in 8 trillion and others lower such as one in 20.

During cross, Raymond also admitted that his testing can only detect the presence of DNA, it cannot tell how or when the DNA latched onto each particular piece of evidence. 

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