Prosecutors say suspect confessed to Delphi murders; defense cites inhumane treatment
The defense lawyers say the confessions came as Allen suffered inhumane treatment at a maximum security prison. Allen’s attorneys argue the confessions are invalid and were prompted only by his declining mental health because of his conditions in prison.
Richard Allen, 50, of Delphi, was arrested on Oct. 28 for the February 2017 murders of 13-year-old Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German near the Monon High Bridge in Delphi. Their bodies were found Feb. 14, 2017, in a rugged, heavily wooded area near the trail.
Allen on Oct. 31 pleaded not guilty in his initial court hearing.
When Allen entered the courtroom Thursday, he barely made eye contact with the two members of his family who were sitting in the front row.
Allen also showed little emotion Thursday when Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said in court that Allen had confessed.
Allen has been in the Indiana Department of Correction’s Westville Correctional Facility since November 2022. The state prison is in northern Indiana about halfway between the cities of La Porte and Valparaiso.
In the courtroom Thursday, onlookers learned Allen has an electronic tablet to make phone calls from his prison cell, and the calls are monitored. In those calls, the prosecution said, Allen confessed five or six times to the murders of the girls.
After the court hearing, Allen on Thursday left the Carroll County Courthouse with his feet shackled and his arms tied together by a steel lock.
At the state prison, Allen is on a suicide watch, which means that a guard is outside of his prison cell around the clock. The warden at Westville facility said Thursday that his staff noticed a sharp decline in Allen’s mental health several months ago.
Law enforcement officers and the warden on Thursday also testified Allen’s treatment was no different than other inmates. Decisions about Allen’s living situation were made to protect his safety, the law enforcement officers said, as they believe he could be a target of other inmates because the case involves children.
Moving him to a new local facility could endanger him, as well as put additional burdens on staff, said Carroll County Sheriff Tony Liggett.
Allen’s attorneys said they believe his physical and mental health are in a rapid decline.
McLeland said he doubted whether changing facilities would benefit Allen, questioning whether it would be “any different,” as officials testified steps would still be taken to ensure Allen’s security.
Francis Gull is the special judge from Allen County appointed to the case after a local judge recused himself. Gull did not decide Thursday whether to move Allen to another prison.
Gull has kept much of the case out of the public’s view. However, on Thursday, she said she will make some documents public in the next week in response to a motion from Kevin Greenlee, the co-host of the podcast The Murder Sheet.
Also on Thursday, the judge delayed a portion of the hearing regarding a request by Allen’s attorneys to block some evidence from the case.
Gull also set a trial date for January; but, it’s unlikely the proceedings will be ready to happen by that time. A jury for the trial will be selected from Allen County and transported to Carroll County, the judge had previously decided.
This story was written from a script aired on WISH-TV. Arleigh Rodgers of The Associated Press contributed to the story.
Mental health resources
- Be Well Indiana
- Indiana Suicide Prevention
- Indiana Department of Child Services’ Children’s Mental Health Initiative
- National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988 or 800-273-8255
- More resources