July 30, 2021

Killing of DLA Lawyer David Messerschmitt remains unsolved

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Messerschmitt-UpdateBy Zoe Tillman, From Legal Times

David Messerschmitt was found stabbed in the back in a downtown Washington hotel room one month ago today. The young lawyer’s killing remains unsolved.

Police are still trying to identify a “person of interest” who was recorded walking into The Donovan Hotel on the night of Feb. 9.

Hotel staff discovered Messerschmitt, 30, an associate at DLA Piper, in Room 400 of the hotel, which is just off Thomas Circle and not far from the restaurants and bars of the District’s bustling 14th Street corridor. Some of his belongings were strewn about in the room, according to police reports. Police observed what appeared to be blood on the door, walls and floor.

Police have disclosed few details about the investigation. The authorities publicly released one piece of evidence early on: video from a security camera at the Donovan.

The video depicts a person—whose gender is not clear—walking into the hotel on the night of Feb. 9. Police want the public’s help to identify the person, Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said on Monday.

Crump declined to provide any other details about the investigation, including a possible motive.

The person in the video enters the hotel wearing gloves and a dark jacket with the hood up. The person appears to press a button for the elevator. After several seconds of waiting, the person walks to a nearby stairwell.

The video switches to a camera in a stairwell. For a moment, the person makes eye contact with the camera. The person then pulls up a face covering to conceal his or her mouth.

Police called the hotel on Feb. 10 looking for Messerschmitt after his wife, Kim Vuong, reported him missing earlier that morning.

Vuong said her husband had texted her at 7:34 p.m. on Feb. 9, according to The Washington Post. Messerschmitt said he would be home in an hour.

The first half of the Donovan security footage, showing the person of interest entering the hotel, reveals a timestamp of 7:44 p.m. When the video switches to the stairwell, the timestamp changes to 7:40 p.m. The reason for the discrepancy is unclear.

The authorities have not disclosed any other video from the hotel or disclosed whether any other cameras recorded the person leaving the hotel.

Police who responded to the crime scene said in court papers that a wallet was lying next to Messerschmitt’s head. “Various credit cards [were] strewn about,” according to search warrant papers.

Investigators searched the room and took evidence that included: “bed sheet, wallet with cards, pillow, HP computer, computer bag, lubricant and condom, bed sheet, clothing, credit card, cell phone, [illegible], swabs, finger prints, enema, [illegible], watch, towel, curtain, keys.”

The Metropolitan Police Department is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Vuong and the Messerschmitt family spokesman, Gary Meltz, did not return calls seeking comment.

Messerschmitt had moved to Washington in 2012, transferring from the Chicago office of Mayer Brown, his former firm. He joined DLA Piper in April 2014. A DLA Piper spokesman said on Monday that the firm would “continue to cooperate with the police investigation.”

IMAGE: David Messerschmitt. Credit: Facebook

For more on this story go to: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1202720137482/Killing-of-DLA-Lawyer-David-Messerschmitt-Remains-Unsolved#ixzz3U5GjSRl4


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