DELPHI, Ind — A judge is considering whether whether to publicly release court documents on the murders of two Delphi teenagers. The judge said she will release an order at a future time during a hearing Tuesday, Nov. 22.
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Allen filed a motion for a change of venue for his trial, according to court documents.
During a Tuesday morning court hearing, special judge Fran Gull said she would take arguments made by the Carroll County prosecutor and defense attorneys for defendant Richard Allen under advisement. She plans to release a decision soon.
Allen is charged with two counts of murder in connection with the 2017 killings of Abby Williams and Libby German in Delphi.
During the 30-minute hearing, prosecutor Nicholas McLeland told the judge he and investigators have reason to believe Allen is not the only one involved in the murders.
“This is still a very ongoing investigation,” McLeland said. “We believe Richard Allen is not the only actor involved in this.”
McLeland said, for that reason, the probable cause affidavit – a document that explains why a defendant has been arrested for a specific crime – should not be made public despite Allen’s arrest and charges.
The prosecutor presented the judge with a statement from the lead Indiana State Police investigator assigned to the murder case as well as a letter from Libby German’s grandmother supporting his motion to keep the probable cause affidavit sealed.
He also argued releasing the document would interfere with the investigation, endanger the safety and privacy of witnesses and lead to chaos for the legal proceedings.
The prosecutor asked the judge to keep them sealed or, if they are released, to at least keep the names of witnesses private.
On Wednesday, the Carroll County Prosecutor's Office released a statement saying, "we strongly believe the evidence shows Richard Allen was involved in the murder of Libby and Abby. Because the investigation is ongoing and given the intense public interest in this case, we think it would be best if the documents remain sealed. Regardless of the ruling, we believe we have a very strong case against Mr. Allen and look forward to making our argument in trial."
Richard Allen's attorneys told the judge the prosecutor’s statements were “conjecture and speculation” and that failing to release the probable cause affidavit could lead to the very chaos that McLeland predicted.
“Any secrecy involved in the case has simply heightened public interest,” defense attorney Brad Rozzi said. “By continuing that pattern … we are just perpetuating the problem.”
Gull will weigh the evidence and exhibits before issuing an order on the motion to keep the court documents secret.
Under Indiana Rule 6 for Access to Public Court Records, the prosecutor is responsible for demonstrating with clear and convincing evidence that the records must be kept sealed to either substantially serve the public interest, prevent a significant risk of substantial harm to the requestor or other persons, or to prevent a substantial prejudicial effect to ongoing proceedings that cannot be avoided without prohibiting public access.
After the hearing, attorney Andrew Baldwin, another defense attorney working on Allen’s defense team, said “our client is the wrong guy.” Standing outside the courtroom, he said the sealed probable cause affidavit is “flimsy” and that "you expect more than what I saw.”
Baldwin said Allen professed his innocence to him and did it emotionally.
As part of Allen's petition to be let out on bail, he claims that "because neither the proof of guilt is evident, nor the presumption of guilt strong, the Accused is seeking a hearing to release the Accused." Allen is asking for the court to either reduce his bail to a "reasonable" amount or release him on his own recognizance. The hearing for that decision is now scheduled for Feb. 17, 2023.
Allen was under tight security as he was ushered into the Carroll County Courthouse Tuesday morning with his wrists and ankles bound in chains.
A short while earlier, the family of Libby German arrived and entered the courthouse to await a chance to see the man accused of killing Libby.
Tuesday, the prosecutor filed a new motion that would prohibit all attorneys, law enforcement and family members involved in the case from speaking or providing information about the case outside of court.
"Yesterday was a long hard day and I am glad it is finally over," Becky Patty, grandmother of Libby German, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.
"The one question many were asking the families is “how do you feel?” Actually, that is a tough question to answer," Patty wrote in the post. "When we were called in and told LE had someone in custody, I thought I would be elated – but then you stop and think about all the new lives that will be affected by this person being arrested and realize it really is sad."
"So, when [Richard Allen] walked into the courtroom and I saw him for the first time – all these emotions and thoughts were running through my mind at the same time and I didn’t know how to feel. I guess my answer to that question is confused. I am just confused…..," Patty wrote at the end of her post.
Detectives with the Delphi Double Homicide Task Force took 50-year-old Richard Matthew Allen of Delphi into custody on Oct. 26, 2022 at the Indiana State Police Post in West Lafayette.
He was taken to the Carroll County Jail and held there until Friday, Oct. 28, when he was transferred to the White County Jail.
Allen was formally charged with two counts of murder on Oct. 28 for the killings of Libby German and Abby Williams in February 2017. The probable cause affidavit, a document which is almost always considered a public document, was sealed at the prosecutor’s request even before criminal charges were filed and has remained secret since.
Allen had not been previously mentioned as a suspect possibly connected to the girls' deaths.
He has lived in Delphi for at least 16 years and his home is less than two miles from the Monon High Bridge where the two murdered teens were last seen. Records show the suspect previously lived in Greenwood and in Mexico, Indiana.
13News learned Allen is a licensed pharmacy technician. He received his Indiana license in 2018 and it's still active. Neighbors told 13News Allen worked at the CVS in Delphi, even at one point developing photos for Libby German's family after the killings. Her family said Allen would not charge them for the photos.
Allen has no criminal history other than a few speeding tickets and a citation for not wearing a seat belt.
Allen's trial is scheduled to start March 20 at 9 a.m., but that date is expected to be moved back to provide both the prosecutor and defense more time to prepare for a trial.