No decision was made Wednesday in the request by the defense to move the trail of Daniel Messel out of Brown County.
According to police, 49-year-old Messel of Bloomington was arrested after police found his cell phone near the body of 22-year-old Indiana University student Hannah Wilson. On April 24, Brown County Deputies found Wilson’s body near Plum Creek Road and State Road 45 after a woman driving on Plum Creek Road saw Wilson’s body face-down in a vacant lot. An autopsy determined Wilson died from blunt force injuries to the back of her head.
On May 22, Messel’s attorney, Dorie Maryan, filed a motion requesting a change of venue.
She cited her client cannot receive a fair trial from impartial jurors in Brown County because of public outrage over the offense, public hostility against the defendant, and news stories that reprimand Messel and disclose “otherwise inadmissible evidence.”
During the hearing, Maryan mentioned connections made in the media of Messel to the disappearance of Lauren Spierer and the murder of Jill Behrman. Spierer went missing from Bloomington in June 2011 and has not been seen since. Behrman went missing from Bloomington in 2000 and her remains were later found in Morgan County in 2003. John Myers II was convicted of her murder and is serving time in prison
Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart took the change of venue request under advisement and will issue a ruling later. She said it is unlikely that news of the crime is contained to Brown County, and that any adjacent county would have significant media exposure to the crime as well.
Prosecutor Ted Adams argued the defense motion was “premature” in his opposition to the defendant’s request saying “public hostility” and “outrage” could not be determined until potential jurors were questioned by the court. He stated this case will continue to be newsworthy and will generate publicity no matter where it goes to trial.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled for July 22.