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Judge To Rule On Evidence To Be Admitted In Daniel Messel Murder Trial
Updated July 11, 2016 7:35 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(NASHVILLE) - Brown County Circuit Court Judge Judith Stewart on Thursday granted 50-year-old Daniel Messel's request to be allowed to go and see his 2012 Kia Sportage SUV.

Police impounded the vehicle when he was arrested in April 2015, the day 22-year-old Hannah Wilson's body was discovered in a vacant lot at State Road 45 and Plum Creek Road near Helmsburg. She had been beaten to death. Police found Messel's cell phone beside her body.

Messel is charged with Wilson's murder and with being a habitual criminal offender because of past convictions, at least one involving violence against women. Jury selection begins July 28.

Judge Stewart ruled Messel can go to an Indiana State Police climate-controlled evidence garage to view the vehicle, but he can "not touch or physically manipulate it."

His lawyer, Dorie Maryan, already has inspected the Kia.

Brown County Prosecutor Ted Adams has asked that during the trial, jurors be taken to the facility as well so they can get a close look at the SUV that is "spattered with the victim's blood." The small size and great number of blood drops were found by police both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Judge Stewart will rule on that request and others.

The prosecution also request to keep evidence of Wilson's apparent sexual activity the night she was killed out of the evidence. Autopsy reported confirmed and evidence on her cell phone confirmed she had been sexually active with a friend the night of the killing. They claim since Messel is not charges with a sex offense the information is not relevant to the case.

The judge also will decide whether evidence of unknown DNA can be admitted and if the defense can use it to argue that someone else may have killed Wilson. Unidentified DNA was found on grass and debris where Wilson's body was found, on one of Messel's shoes, his jeans, and in hair from the backseat of his SUV.

There also was unidentified male DNA beneath a fingernail on Wilson's right hand, court records say.

The prosecution claims that DNA can travel over time and that the unidentified samples should not be part of the trial evidence. Claiming the remaining DNA samples from the Messel's shoes, jeans, T-shirt and pullover were consistent with the known profile samples taken from the Messel and Wilson.

Judge Stewart will also rule on a the admissibility of surveillance video showing a vehicle resembling Messel's in the vicinity of IU between 1 and 2 the morning Wilson disappeared and also driving on Ind. 45 toward Bloomington at 3:30 a.m.. But before she does, she needs to view it.

The defense objected to showing the video saying the images are not clear and the driver nor the license plate is visible. And the state trooper who identified the vehicle as being like Messel's did so by the shape of headlights and taillights in the dark images. In her objection, she states the Indiana State Police trooper is not car experts and his identification is flawed and should not be allowed during the trial.

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