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Messel expected to change plea in April for rape case


Daniel Messel, who was convicted of murdering Hannah Wilson in April 2015, is escorted to the Brown County Circuit Court on Sept. 22, 2016. Messel has another hearing in April. Emily Eckelbarger Buy Photos

Daniel Messel, the manconvicted in 2016 of murdering IU student Hannah Wilson, will likely plead guilty in April in connection to a separate 2012 rape of an IU student. 

As of now, Messel has pleaded not guilty to the five charges in the case. A change-of-venue hearing was scheduled for Monday to determine where the trial should take place because Messel was concerned an unbiased jury could not be found in Monroe County.

That hearing was cancelled, though, and now a change of plea hearing and sentencing is scheduled for April 24, suggesting he will plead guilty to at least one charge.

It is unclear for what charge or charges Messel might change his plea. He is already serving 80 years in prison for Wilson’s murder.

He was charged in 2016 with rape and other felonies related to the 2012 rape case. The victim in the case had seen media coverage of the Wilson trial, according to court documents, and felt her case was “eerily similar.” 

She contacted police, saying she believed Messel might be her attacker, and DNA collected from under her fingernails in 2012 was tested against a sample from Messel. The samples matched. 

Like in the Wilson case, the victim in the 2012 case was a female IU student walking outside while intoxicated. 

A man she said she did not know drove her to a secluded location near Griffy Lake and forced his penis into her mouth. The woman tried to fight him off, according to court documents, and he hit her so hard it “knocked the contact out of her eye, and she was spitting blood.”

The man then drove away, and the woman found help from nearby residents. Her underwear was found at the scene the next day.

A police officer visited Messel in prison after the samples were matched in 2016, but Messel refused to speak to him about these charges.

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