Appeals court upholds man’s conviction, sentence in murder of IU student Hannah Wilson

Daniel Messel outside court on June 17, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– An appeals court upheld the 80-year sentence for a man convicted of murder in the beating death of IU student Hannah Wilson.

Daniel Messel’s appeal argued that evidence speculating that a heavy flashlight may have been used to kill 22-year-old Wilson in April 2015 should not have been introduced during his trial.

His brief also argued that his prison sentence was unfair and excessive. Messel was convicted in Wilson’s slaying last August by a Brown County jury and sentenced to 60 years for murder and 20 years for being a habitual offender.

The court ruled Thursday there was no error in the sentence and found it was appropriate.

A coroner found that a blunt object such as a flashlight, tree limb or baseball bat could have been the murder weapon.

Wilson, a psychology major from the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, was two weeks away from graduation when she disappeared after partying with friends during Little 500 weekend. She was later found beaten to death in a vacant lot about 10 miles from Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.

Messel’s cellphone was discovered beneath her body.