DELPHI, Ind. — The probable cause affidavit released Tuesday claimed an unused round of ammunition was found between the bodies of two girls in February 2017.
Forensic experts scientifically linked the bullet to the gun found in Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen’s home when they searched it, the affidavit said. That gun was a .40 caliber Sig Sauer P226.
Allen faces two counts of murder for the Feb. 13, 2017, deaths of 13-year-old Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German near Delphi. Allen was arrested in the case on Oct. 28.
Guy Relford is a gun range instructor and a defense attorney who handles gun cases exclusively. He is not a part of the Delphi murders investigation. He told I-Team 8 that it is possible to link an unused round specifically to one gun. “It’s been accepted in courts that, with the right level of magnification and the right analysis, it can be as conclusive as fingerprints.”
There are a few reasons why an unspent round might be ejected. “It could be a malfunction. It could be to induce fear in someone,” Relford said.
When a shell casing, either used or unused, is ejected from a gun, it creates a unique signature on the casing.
“When that little metal claw made contact with that metal shell casing, part of the cartridge, it left a mark,” Relford said.
Just because the affidavit said the unspent round belonged to Allen’s gun doesn’t mean it is his. Even the affidavit called the bullet identification subjective in nature.
According to Relford, the validity of where the round came from could come down to expert witness testimony about how the round was analyzed and the level of magnification used to look at it.
“You could very easily have defense experts say it’s not as reliable and it’s not as conclusive and shouldn’t be the basis for a jury finding beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a crime,” Relford said.