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Judge delays decision on Delphi murders documents

DELPHI, Ind. (WISH) — A special judge Tuesday said she will make a decision “in the future” on the release of the probable cause affidavit for Richard Allen, the suspect in the 2017 Delphi murders.

Judge Frances. C. Gull, a criminal administrative judge from Allen County, heard arguments Tuesday morning from prosecutors and Allen’s attorneys at the Carroll County Courthouse, with Allen in attendance. She’s going to take a couple of days to consider what was said Tuesday in a court hearing before deciding whether to release the document. A decision is expected next week.

Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland on Tuesday argued to keep the document sealed, mainly because Allen “did not act alone.”

McLeland issued a new statement on Friday morning.

The Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office appreciates the Judge hearing our arguments yesterday morning and looks forward to her ruling. As I stated in court yesterday, we strongly believe the evidence shows Richard Allen was involved in the murder of Abby and Libby. Because the investigation is ongoing and given the intense public interest in this case, we think it would be best if the documents remain sealed. Regardless of the ruling, we believe we have a very solid case against Mr. Allen and look forward to making our argument in trial.

Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland

Andrew Baldwin, the lead defense attorney for the 50-year-old suspect, said, “Well, that was news to us, whoever was in that room, listening to the prosecutor talking about a second person. That is news to us.”

Prosecutors also say the probable cause affidavit contains details, witness names, and investigative methods critical to the investigation that should not be made available to the public. McLeland offered a redacted version of the probable cause for the judge’s inspection.  

Allen’s attorneys argued that it’s time for the public to see what years of investigation and money have produced in the case, calling the evidence “flimsy.” Baldwin told I-Team 8 his client is innocent. Baldwin also believes a public release of the probable cause affidavit could help Allen.

“You’re going to read that probable cause affidavit online, or wherever they get it, and, hopefully, that’s gonna ring a bell for somebody to help us out because he is innocent. He has told us that very emotionally. He thanked us for our help.”

Baldwin says he and fellow defense attorney Bradley Rozzi are “anxious” for the public to read the probable cause affidavit.  Baldwin and Rozzi accepted the case a week ago as public defenders. Baldwin admits they are playing catch-up,  

“We’re anxious for this thing to get going and we’ll see. When you guys read the PC, presuming that the judge grants our motion, you will have to question, ‘Is this what happens after five years of an investigation? Is this what it is?’ We don’t have any other evidence. We don’t have any discovery. That’s all we have. And we are not impressed.”

The state also has filed a motion requesting a gag order in the case. No action was taken Tuesday on that request.

Allen was arrested on Oct. 28 and murder charges were announced on Oct. 31. He faces two counts of murder for the deaths of 13-year-old Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German near Delphi in February 2017. He is being held in an undisclosed state-run correctional facility while awaiting trial.

The probable cause affidavit, typically submitted by police and prosecutors, shows the evidence against an individual to convince the judge to approve an arrest.

The judge set a February hearing on Allen’s request to be released on bond.

Allen’s attorneys on Monday asked that Allen be released from jail without posting bond, or that he be released on what the request calls a “reasonable bail amount.” His attorneys argue that the probable cause does not have evidence of guilt or create a strong presumption of guilt for Allen.

The judge set a bail hearing for Feb. 17 in the Carroll County Courthouse.

I-Team 8 reporter Richard Essex contributed to this report.