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Defense lawyer: Trial of suspect in Delphi murders could cost $1 million

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen’s court-appointed lawyers don’t have the resources that the Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office brings to the case.

In an upcoming closed-door meeting, Allen’s attorneys are expected to lay out part of their defense strategy, which is information they don’t want to share with the public and the prosecutor.

Kevin Greenlee, a lawyer with the podcast Murder Sheet, told I-Team 8, “Generally speaking, the prosecution has the advantage in a case like this because even a small county has more resources than an individual when it comes to waging a battle in court.”

Allen, 50, was arrested on Oct. 28 and the announcement of charges was made on Oct. 31. He’s been charged in connection to the murders of 13-year-old Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German in February 2017.

Allen’s public defenders Andrew Baldwin and Anthony Rizzi, who once argued to have records unsealed, are asking the judge to seal their request for more public funding. In the court documents obtained by I-Team 8, Allen’s lawyers are asking for money to pay experts’ fees, expenses and investigation costs. In making their argument to the judge, Allen’s lawyers will have to identify the experts and how they plan on using the information to prove he didn’t kill the girls.

Jack Crawford, a defense attorney not involved in the Allen case and a former Lake County prosecutor, told I-Team 8, “They will have investigators go out and talk to witnesses. There were a lot of people involved in the search for the girls when they disappeared. There are going to be all kinds of records that have to be collected. You are going to have to paralegals assigned to the defense team.”  

The prosecutor’s office is required to eventually hand over all the evidence it has in the murders to Allen’s lawyers. But, this is not a two-way street. Allen’s lawyers don’t have to share everything until it is presented in court.

Crawford said, “I’m sure one of the first experts they are going to get is a ballistics or firearms identification expert concerning that unfired round that was found at the scene of where these girls’ bodies were recovered.”

Money is the great equalizer for any defense. Allen’s’ attorney’s will be asked by perspective experts if they can afford the fees.

The cost of the prosecution is also coming into play. A few weeks ago, the Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office asked the county government for an additional $40,000 to cover expenses.

Crawford believes Allen’s’ defense and prosecution could cost taxpayers $1 million; double that if the prosecutor seeks the death penalty.

Crawford said, “I’m sure the powers-to-be in Carroll County are trying to figure out if they are going to have to float a bond issue or raise taxes to pay for the prosecution of this case. Unfortunately in Indiana, we don’t have a mechanism to help small counties prosecute sensational cases like this. We don’t have the financial ability to help them.” 

The Carroll County prosecutor has said in court that he believes others suspects were involved in the murders.

Every arrest that leads to a trial could cost taxpayers $1 million.