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Richard Allen asks for change of venue in Delphi murders case

DELPHI, Ind. (WISH) — The suspect in the Delphi murders has asked a judge to move his trial at least 150 miles out of Carroll County.

Attorneys for 50-year-old Richard Allen, of Delphi, filed a motion Monday requesting a change of venue in the double murder trial, online court records show.

Allen faces two counts of murder for the Feb. 13, 2017, deaths of Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German near Delphi.

Allen was arrested in the case on Oct. 28.

A special judge hearing the case has yet to rule on whether to release a probable cause affidavit that spells out the evidence leading to Allen’s arrest. Prosecutors have asked that it remain sealed to help protect the investigation. Prosecutors also requested a gag order in the case because of the extreme amount of publicity it has received.

In their request for a change of venue, Allen’s court-appointed attorneys, Brad Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin write:

“Although it could be argued that the amount of publicity that this particular case has received in the past 5+ years will make it difficult to find a jury that has not heard of this case, Richard Allen’s defense team has gleaned statistical data that would strongly indicate that moving the case/trial just 150 miles away would significantly reduce the likelihood of obtaining a tainted jury pool.”

Brian Buckmire is a criminal defense attorney and one of the hosts of Law and Crime Daily here on WISH-TV. He says the amount of media coverage surrounding the case could impact the trial if it’s kept in Carroll County.

“That can make it very difficult finding a jury at it’s start point and then even more difficult if a jury is found to find a fair trial,” Buckmire said.

Indiana University Law Professor Jody Madeira looked at the court filing by Allen’s attorney.

“I do think 150 miles is sufficient for a change of venue and I felt the information in the motion was actually very persuasive,” Madeira said.

The 150 radius would exclude most of the state of Indiana, except for a few counties in southern Indiana if the judge in the case grants the motion to move it.

This filing was made at 10 p.m. on Monday.

The judge hasn’t made a decision yet, but it’s Madeira’s opinion that a decision could be made soon.

“If I were the judge I would rule on this as expeditiously as possible because it very much affects the progression of the case,” Madeira said.

Rozzi and Baldwin also cite the move to seal the probable cause affidavit as well as the recusal of a previous judge appointed to the case as “anecdotal evidence” of the “practical problems associated with the interest and publicity in Carroll County.”

A jury trial is scheduled to begin on March 20, 2023.