DELPHI, Ind. – A special judge will handle multiple issues this week regarding the Delphi murder case.
A hearing is set for Friday, Jan. 13. Judge Fran Gull was initially set to hear arguments on a change of venue and a gag order in the case against Richard Allen.
Allen’s defense attorneys requested a change of venue away from Carroll County because of the high-profile nature of the murders. A temporary gag order has been in effect since December; Gull could institute a gag order barring anyone from talking about the case until it goes to trial.
The court will now hear additional arguments regarding requests made by Allen’s defense counsel, according to a court order filed Monday. On Dec. 30, defense lawyers filed a discovery request asking for a cavalcade of information, including the names and addresses of potential witnesses the state may call. Gull will also hold a hearing on Allen’s attorneys’ request to fund additional investigators.
Indiana State Police announced Allen’s arrest on Oct. 31, 2022. He’s charged with murder in the deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German, who were found dead on Feb. 14, 2017. The case went unsolved for more than five years despite the public release of evidence such as a grainy photo of the suspect, a recording of his voice and a pair of sketches.
Records related to the case were initially sealed before the judge approved the release of a redacted version of the probable cause affidavit at the end of November.
Investigators linked Allen to the murders through an unspent round discovered next to the girls’ bodies that police said was traced to a gun belonging to Allen. He had told an investigator in 2017 that he was on the trails and near the Monon High Bridge on the day of the murders in the two-hour window in which investigators believe the killings took place.
The lengthy ”Supplemental Motion for Discovery and Request for Rule 404 and Rule 405 Evidence” filed on Dec. 30 seeks the names and addresses of all witnesses involved in the case, including recorded or transcribed statements. Allen’s attorneys also want the names and addresses of individuals who may have knowledge of the case but aren’t being called as witnesses by the state.
The motion asks for statements from anyone who conducted “any test, experiment, examination, or comparison, made in connection with this particular case.” That information includes the “results of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests, experiments or comparisons,” regardless of whether the state intends to use them.
The motion calls for the state to turn over any phone records or recordings of phone calls made by Allen, if they exist. Attorneys also want phone records, books, papers, tapes, documents, photographs, video tapes and “other tangible objects and evidence” that belong to Allen and may be used by the prosecution.
Allen’s attorneys requested any investigatory information gathered in the case, including written reports, maps, drawings or diagrams from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, local police department, Indiana State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the medical examiner’s office and “any other law enforcement agency or any private individual in connection with or pertaining to the investigation of the crime charged” against Allen.
Attorneys want to know if the state has any exculpatory information that could clear Allen, along with dates and times that he appeared in any police lineups and who viewed the lineups or photo arrays featuring him. Information involving searches and search warrants is also part of the request.
The broad request for information includes cell phone tracking data and any charts or exhibits the state has prepared as part of its case.
The motion also requests information related to a lawsuit involving the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office as well as the personnel records of Tobe Leazenby, Tony Liggett and Michael Thomas.
In the lawsuit, filed in October 2022, Thomas accused the sheriff’s office of political retaliation, saying he’d suggested bringing in outside experts in the early days of the Delphi investigation. His suggestion was rebuffed, he claimed, leading to his demotion after he lost the May primary race for sheriff.
Friday’s hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. An 11 a.m. hearing will be held on the defense’s request for funding for investigators. A separate bail hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17.