A lawyer who police say was killed in his downtown Washington hotel room last week was stabbed several times in the back and was found lying face down on the floor, according to a search-warrant affidavit filed Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.
Police also said that a wallet was found next to David Messerschmitt’s head with “various credit cards strewn about.” The affidavit says that additional credit cards and “identifying documents” were “observed throughout the room,” on the fourth floor of the Donovan Hotel, on 14th Street NW at Thomas Circle.
A police report from last week listed items found in the room; neither the report nor the affidavit says that a cellphone was found.
D.C. police have released few details of Messerschmitt’s killing. The 30-year-old intellectual-property lawyer, who lived with his wife on Capitol Hill and worked for the international law firm DLA Piper, was found dead shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 10. D.C. police have released surveillance video of a “person of interest” seen on the hotel stairs and in the lobby about 7:45 p.m. on Feb. 9.
Police reports have said that Messerschmitt’s wife last saw her husband Sunday, Feb. 8, but that they exchanged text messages the following day. A federal judge who is friends with Messerschmitt said he was at work at his firm in Gallery Place on Feb. 9 and left at 5:30 p.m. Police said Messerschmitt’s wife received a text on his phone about two hours later, at 7:34 p.m., saying he would be home in about one hour.
Messerschmitt’s wife filed a missing-persons report with D.C. police shortly after midnight on Feb. 10. The search-warrant affidavit says that police called the Donovan to ascertain whether Messerschmitt was a guest there. The document does not indicate why officers called that particular hotel. Hotel management found the body when they used a master key to enter Room 400, the affidavit says.
Authorities have not said what they suspect is the motive in the killing. Gary C. Meltz, a spokesman for the victim’s family, said there would be no immediate comment.