Indiana Daily Student

Defense argues investigation of Hannah Wilson's murder wasn't thorough enough

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.

Defense attorney Dorie Maryan pleaded with the jury to see how the investigation into the murder of Hannah Wilson wasn't complete.

She argued the investigation, which led to Daniel Messel being on trial for Wilson’s murder, wasn’t thorough enough.

Michael Robbins, lead detective in the case, took the stand Wednesday afternoon in the Brown County courthouse.

More than an hour passed before Robbins was asked to step down.

Maryan drilled him with questions: why didn’t he request DNA samples from any other suspects? Why didn't he look further into the text message that “creeped Hannah out?"

Why had he waited more than a month after Wilson’s death to interview the last person she talked to that night?

Tyler Dunlap, a friend of Wilson, was one of the last to see her that night. He and another friend, Alex Wojno, put her into a cab right before she went missing.

Dunlap then sent Wilson two texts early Friday morning.

“Please tell me you’re still awake,” he wrote around 3 a.m.

Not long after, Dunlap sent another. Maryan read it aloud from records.

“Seriously though, I want to fuck you so badly,” the text read.

Both messages went unanswered.

Robbins testified the reason he and other investigators waited weeks to interview some of Wilson’s friends, possible suspects, was because they hadn't yet received phone records. At the time, he had no reason to suspect they were involved in her death.

In the end, Robbins concluded Dunlap – who was interviewed three different times – and Wojno were “well-alibied.” He determined the same for Colt Burnette, who was the last person to speak to Wilson.

Wilson called Burnette around 1 a.m., but they soon hung up because he was at a show at the Bluebird Nightclub and couldn’t hear her.

A few minutes later, Burnette texted Wilson. She never responded.

The jury also heard from Messel’s neighbor Dale Goodman as well as Indiana State Police officers Richard Klun and Brad Stille, both involved in Messel’s arrest April 24, 2015.

That day, Klun was at K-9 training in Indianapolis. He left around noon, and on this way home stopped by the ISP post in Bloomington.

Officers there asked Klun to drive to a residence where Daniel Messel was living with his father, Gerald. On his way there, Klun was told he’d be looking for a “possible homicide suspect.”

After spending about an hour and a half outside that house without seeing Daniel, he left. Klun testified that he was halfway home before being called back to the residence.

A Kia SUV was in the carport when Klun returned, he said.

He saw Daniel walk out holding a plastic bag. Klun drew his firearm and arrested Daniel, who dropped the bag.

“And the defendant showed no emotion during this?” the prosecution asked Klun on Wednesday.

“That is correct."

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