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Judge cites ‘blood lust’ for info, recuses self in Delphi murders case

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Carroll County judge who’d cited the “public’s blood lust for information” in the Delphi murders case has recused himself from the case, the Indiana Supreme Court said Thursday.

Carroll Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Diener’s recusal came the same day he’d approved a request from Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby to transfer Richard Allen, the suspect in the 2017 Delphi murders of two girls, to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Abigail “Abby” Williams and LIberty “Libby” German were last seen on the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2017. They had been dropped off near the Monon High Bridge near Delphi. The next day, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was looking for the girlsA command post was set up and the community worked to locate the girls. Their bodies were located around 12:15 p.m. that day.

Kathryn Dolan, chief public information officer for the Indiana Supreme Court, said in a Thursday email to the news media that judges do not “not have to explain a reason for recusal.”

In the order to move Allen to a state prison, Diener wrote, “This FINDING is not predicated on any acts or alleged acts of the Defendant, since arrest, rather a toxic and harmful insistence on ‘public information’ about Defendant and this case.”

Diener also wrote about YouTube creators posting videos about him.

“While this officer is responsible for the entirety of the Circuit Court docket it attempts to ignore the maelstrom of ‘interest’ from the public, it is known that YouTube already hosts content regarding family members of this judicial officer, including photos,” Diener wrote. “The public’s blood lust for information, before it exists, is extremely dangerous. ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS administering this action do not feel safe and are not protected.”

As a result of Diener dropping the case, the Indiana Supreme Court will appoint a special judge.

Dolan said the Indiana Supreme Court has appointed Frances C. “Fran” Gull, criminal division administrative judge in Allen County, to hear the case of Allen’s murder charge.

Gull began with the Allen Superior Court in January 1997, according to her online biography. The judge was a semifinalist for the Indiana Supreme Court in 2012.

While Allen was arrested on Oct. 28, a probable cause affidavit has not yet been made public. It is not yet known how police linked him to the case. A hearing regarding the documents has been scheduled for Nov. 22.

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