I-Team 8

Law community debates strength of Delphi murder suspect’s probable cause affidavit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen’s attorneys have questioned the strength of the probable cause affidavit charging him with the 2017 crimes.

But, are there really key pieces of information missing? I-Team 8 spoke with a former prosecutor and a defense attorney to find out.

Allen, 50, faces two counts of murder for the deaths of Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and Liberty “Libby” German, 14, near Delphi in February 2017. He was arrested in the case on Oct. 28.

Sonia Leerkamp gained decades of experience as a prosecutor in Hamilton County. She explained why the affidavit may be lacking on a lot of major details: “You’re not filing something to try and prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt at that stage. You just need to convince a judge that there is sufficient probable cause for a warrant to be issued.”

Defense attorney Jack Crawford, who has years of experiences defending murder cases, said about the affidavit, “It’s almost totally circumstantial evidence against Mr. Allen.”

Crawford said the most intriguing part of the affidavit is the unspent round of ammunition found between the bodies of the teen girls; the bullet was linked to Allen’s gun.

Crawford said, “It’s interesting, but it doesn’t prove that he fired a shot into Abby or Libby causing their death. There’s no cause of death listed in the PC (probable cause).”

Leerkamp said that prosecutors generally exclude that sort of information from an affidavit, “especially if it’s a high-profile case,” so the document doesn’t “taint a potential juror.”

Crawford said Allen’s attorney’s will likely ask the prosecution for all its evidence soon. That request could include evidence that could prove Allen’s innocence by pointing the finger at a different suspect. “An alternate suspect is someone who has a similar reason to commit a murder and the evidence points just as much to that alternate suspect as it does to Richard Allen.”.

Leerkamp says she’s not surprised at how the prosecution has handled this case. She say prosecutors probably are playing things close to the vest for now because of the ethical guidelines prosecutors follow. “We don’t want to convict the person in the press. Our goal is to take it to court to provide a fair trial to any defendant.”

Crawford said, “The difference between enough to arrest and enough to convict is like night and day. There’s a long way to go in this case.”

Leerkamp says another reason the Delphi murders prosecutors could have withheld information from Allen’s probable cause affidavit is the ongoing investigation that they don’t want to ruin.