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Judge opens Delphi murders case to cameras for 1st time

Judge to allow cameras in Delphi murders hearing

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WISH) — The special judge in the Delphi murders case has agreed for the first time to allow cameras in the courtroom for a Thursday hearing in Fort Wayne.

The ruling was posted Tuesday in online court records.

“This case has generated substantial public interest and media attention,” Judge Frances Gull from Allen County wrote in the ruling.

One of the judge’s restrictions was that the hearing can only be recorded for later broadcast, not livestreamed. The hearing has been set to start at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Richard Allen, of Delphi, was arrested on Oct. 28 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. Their bodies were found Feb. 14, 2017, in a rugged, heavily wooded area near the trail.

The judge says that she’s opened the Allen County Courthouse courtroom to cameras “to ensure the integrity of the proceedings, to protect the Defendant’s constitutional rights for due process, to ensure the safety of the parties and the public, and to permit public access to criminal proceedings.”

The order outlines rules and guidelines for cameras in the 90-seat courtroom, and for the security of the building.

From the ruling:

  • “All entrances are closed, except for the entrance on the east side of the building. The remaining entrances are locked with no access to the public, including members of the media, are subject to screening by metal detectors. All bags in possession of those entering the building are subject to search.”
  • “NO weapons of any kind are permitted in the building, except for on-duty law enforcement officers providing security to the Courthouse and the parties.”
  • “Cellular telephones are NOT permitted in the building. Violations are subject to seizure and destruction of the cellular telephone.”
  • “No electronic equipment or devices are permitted in the Allen County Courthouse. This includes electronic watches.”
  • “Media personnel are permitted to attend the Court session.”
  • “One or two cameras providing pool coverage will be permitted in the Court session. No still photography or other recording will be permitted.”
  • “No other media equipment will be permitted in the Courthouse.”
  • “The Court will prohibit media broadcast during this hearing of attorney-client communications, bench conferences, and materials on counsel tables and the Court’s bench. The Court has the sole discretion to interrupt or stop the coverage, or to limit or terminate the recording and broadcast by a news media organization at any time during the proceeding.”

The judge warned anyone who violated the rules and guidelines could face a criminal charge of contempt of court.

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