Delphi defense claims destruction of evidence, wants charges dismissed
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Attorneys for Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen have filed a motion that criminal charges against him be dismissed.
Allen, 51, of Delphi, was arrested on Oct. 28, 2022, 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.
The motion filed Wednesday claims someone destroyed “exculpatory evidence” in the case against Allen for the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German.
Exculpatory evidence is a legal term referencing evidence that the defense believes could help prove Allen was not the killer.
According to court documents obtained by News 8, the defense argues that videotaped interviews with two possible suspects were “deleted by police” in February 2017 and it is “unknown what other interviews were deleted during the relevant time frames.”
“The destruction of material interviews of key suspects, early in the investigation, demonstrates negligence, if not intentional conduct on the part of the State. How could law enforcement, while investigating the most serious of crimes, record over interviews of material suspects with recklessness or intentionality?” the defense asks in its filing.
I-Team 8 spoke with Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Jody Madeira about the deletion of the taped interviews.
“If the allegations in the motion are proven to be true, how serious of an issue is that,” asked I-Team 8 reporter Kody Fisher.
“That is something that never should happen,” said Madeira.
According to Madeira, Allen’s attorney’s would likely still have to prove that the taped interviews of the two men actually contained evidence proving Allen’s innocence.
In August of 2023 law enforcement re-interviewed one of the people the defense has identified as a suspect in the case. During that interview the person told police, “I barely even knew that girl. I met her once.”
The defense said that is contradictory to what that person told police in the deleted interview with that person in 2017, “Therefore, one material and highly relevant contradiction exists. It is therefore plausible that many more contradictions would be available to the defense but for the State’s intentional or negligent failure to preserve all of the evidence,” read the motion to dismiss.
The defense has also discovered prepared search warrant applications for cell phone data for the two people the defense names in the motion. The applications state the people are, “a known member of a religious sect, and elements of the Murder have potential religious significance. The information being requested is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”
The defense said the warrants were never served.
“Theses suspicious facts further call into question the circumstances surrounding the destruction of key videotaped statements,” read the motion to dismiss, “and support Richard Allen’s motion to dismiss all charged filed by the State of Indiana.”
Madeira said it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to create warrant applications that are never used, “They often work ahead in a sense and warrants might not be filed just because they’re prepared. That just generally means that the police decide to go down an alternate path,” said Madeira.
No hearing has been set on the motion, and prosecutors have not filed a formal response.
Attorneys in the case are under a gag order and prevented from speaking publicly on the case outside of court proceedings.
Allen is due in court next week in Fort Wayne.
His trial is currently set for October.