NASHVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – A man found guilty of killing an Indiana University student has been sentenced.
Daniel Messel was convicted last month for the murder of Hannah Wilson. On Thursday, he received a 80 year sentence for Wilson’s murder.
He received 60 years for her murder and another 20 for being a habitual offender. He plans to appeal the sentencing.
Wilson’s beaten body was found in April 2015 in a vacant lot about 10 miles away from IU’s campus.
Prosecutors told the Brown County jury that Wilson’s blood was on Messel’s car and clothes and his cellphone was found under her body. The defense maintained Messel didn’t commit the attack and that police didn’t fully investigate the case.
Wilson, just two weeks away from graduation, died from blunt force trauma after being struck in the head multiple times. Messel’s cell phone was found by Wilson’s body.
Messel was charged just days after Wilson’s body was found.
Messel was also found guilty of being a habitual offender, adding time to his sentence.
Hannah’s family reacts
Wilson’s dad, sister and mother all spoke at the sentencing.
“Addressing him was the hardest thing that any mother should have done. Certainly harder than even sitting through the trial,” said Robin Wilson.
During court, Robin looked Messel right in the eyes. He stared back at her. She cried, even sobbed at times, sharing her pain as she thought of not being there to hold her daughter a hand in her final moments.
“I felt like I saw that he was a little bit shaken by what he was hearing,” she said.
But he didn’t budge. We asked as he was walking out of court if he has anything to say. Messel was silent
“The fact that he is still not willing to face his actions and have some ownership to that day is still hard,” said Robin.
Brown County Prosecutor Ted Adam sought the maximum sentence; 65 years for murder and 20 years for being a habitual offender. Messel received 80 years. However, Adams is pleased with the judge’s decision.
“I don’t think Daniel Messel will walk around again. Society is a safer place because of it. And again, because of Hannah’s heroic last actions,” said Adams.
The Wilson family also referred to Hannah as a hero. Messel’s phone was found near her body off Plum Creek Road in Brown County. Her blood was on his clothes and in his car. Evidence, they say, proved she put up a fight, which ultimately led to his arrest.
“He’s probably wishing today that he would have made a different choice, somebody that may not have been able to put up much resistance. Hannah was not that girl,” said Robin.
Messel was assigned a court appointed attorney to appeal the decision. As for the Wilson family, they say Thursday’s sentencing provides them with a little peace to hopefully move forward.
Messel was also ordered to pay restitution of $19,316.69 to Hannah’s dad and $15,135 to her mom. Both parents said the money, however, was not important to them.