Indiana Daily Student

Friends of Hannah Wilson testify on first day of trial

Hundreds gather to mourn the loss of Hannah Wilson, IU senior murdered Friday morning, outside Indiana Elite Cheer & Tumbling in Noblesville, Ind. on Saturday afternoon. Wilson, a Fishers, Ind. native who used to cheer at Indiana Elite, was a psychology major and a sister in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at IU.
Hundreds gather to mourn the loss of Hannah Wilson, IU senior murdered Friday morning, outside Indiana Elite Cheer & Tumbling in Noblesville, Ind. on Saturday afternoon. Wilson, a Fishers, Ind. native who used to cheer at Indiana Elite, was a psychology major and a sister in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at IU.

Their bracelets were light green and purple, Hannah's favorite colors. Etched in the plastic band: “For Hannah Wilson, Hoondawg.”

Those bracelets, worn by family, friends, former roommates and sorority sisters, filled the courtroom Tuesday in Brown County. The man accused of murdering Wilson more than a year ago, Daniel Messel, sat staring back at Wilson’s loved ones.

The jury heard opening statements from the prosecution and defense, testimonies from investigators, and emotional accounts from friends of Wilson.

Brown County prosecutor Ted Adams began by holding a photo of Wilson for everyone to see.

“You won’t hear from Hannah today,” he said. “Because she’s dead – murdered.”

Adams focused on a 26-hour period – from the hours leading up to Wilson’s disappearance, to Messel being arrested the following evening for her murder.

There are a few telling pieces of evidence in the case, Adams said: a cell phone, identified as belonging to Messel, found laying near Wilson’s body, a bag of Messel’s clothes, and his 2012 Kia Sportage.

More information on those items will be presented to the jury in days to come.

Defense lawyer Dorie Maryan argued throughout the day that the investigation was not thorough enough – that the more likely killer was someone who knew Wilson personally.

As each of Wilson’s former roommates testified Tuesday afternoon, they had to face her alleged perpetrator.

“There is a man sitting over there at the defense counsel,” Adams said, referring to Messel. “Did you ever see him with Hannah?”

Allison Eschbach could hardly look Messel in the eye. She quickly glanced at him, before saying she never had.

No one who took the stand had seen previously seen the two together.

All five young women who spoke said there had been someone “creeping” on Wilson in the past. She mentioned to them a man coming to her window at night.

There was also a “creepy” text message sent to Wilson in question, but the content of that message wasn’t revealed.

Wilson’s friends testified that all this had happened months before her disappearance and murder.

By connecting the accounts of more than 10 people who saw Wilson on the night of April 23 and early morning of April 24, 2015, jurors heard one similar story.

That afternoon, Wilson had taken an exam that she’d been worried about all week. She was in a good mood, her friends said, because she did well and would be able to graduate the coming May.

Later in the day, she went to Kilroy’s on Kirkwood with a couple friends. They returned to Hannah’s and pre-gamed around 8:30 or 9 p.m., before leaving for a party that was two blocks away.

At this point, Wilson was only with Alex Wojno, a friend visiting from out of town for Little 5 weekend.

They went to the Hilton Garden Inn, where Wojno was staying, and continued to drink. Then, around midnight or 12:30 a.m., Wilson, Wojno and their mutual friend Tyler Dunlap went back out to Kilroy’s Sports Bar.

Wojno and Dunlap decided Wilson was too intoxicated to go into the bar, so they called her a cab.

After putting Wilson in the cab and giving the driver her address, the two walked to Brothers Bar and Grill. That was the last time they saw Wilson alive.

According to the prosecution, Wilson was dropped off at the corner of 8th and Dunn streets, close to where she lived at 513 E. 8th St.

Eschbach, who was already in bed, heard the door open around 1:05 a.m. and never heard it close.

On Tuesday, Hannah’s friends talked about the last day they saw her. They described their best friend as authentic, always happy, someone they could rely on, and a friend to everyone.

Hannah’s mother Robin saw her daughter for the last time the Sunday before her death. Hannah had gone home to Fishers, Indiana, because her beloved cat Mac was sick.

Robin said Hannah loved rollercoasters, she loved to dance and paint, and she loved to make her friends laugh.

“But she really liked to lay in bed all day with her cat,” Robin said, smiling.

On Hannah’s last Thursday, she was texting her mom, who told her Mac was doing much better.

Hannah sent her last text to Robin at 8:29 p.m.

“Good Mac.”

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