Man Found Guilty of Beating Indiana University Student to Death

A man who advertised himself online as a “sugar daddy” seeking a “special student” was found guilty of beating an Indiana University senior to death on Wednesday.

Daniel Messel, 51, was convicted of Hannah Wilson’s murder by the jury after only five hours of deliberation. The conviction ensures that Messel will spend 45 to 65 years in prison with up to 20 years added for his additional conviction as a “habitual offender.”

Wilson, who was described as vivacious and bubbly by those who knew her, was last seen on April 23, 2015.

To celebrate the completion of her final exams, the 22-year-old went out partying with friends. At around 12:45 a.m., two of those friends testified that they put Wilson in a cab outside of the bar, but Wilson never made it back to her dorm room. Her body was found beaten and bloody in a vacant lot ten miles from the Bloomington campus early the next morning.

It was obvious that Wilson put up a fight. A cellphone was found at the scene—a phone that proved to be Messel’s. When police arrived at Messel’s home to question him they found him carrying a garbage bag of bloody clothes. Further investigation found that his car was spattered with blood. Messel was arrested soon after.

“She fought him off, and now he’s off the street,” said Jeff Wilson, her father.

While the evidence is compelling, there are still many unknowns in the case, like how Wilson ended up with Messel. The two had never met before.

“Her friends will tell you that intoxicated or sober, Ms. Wilson would not have gotten into a car with a stranger, but maybe if she was with someone she knew she might have,” said Messel’s defense attorney Dorie Maryan.

Messel will be sentenced by Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart on September 22.

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