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.
- PDF: Gull approves release of a version of the probable cause affidavit for Richard Allen
- PDF: Redacted probable cause affidavit for Richard Allen
DELPHI, Ind. — The court hearing for 2017 Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen on Tuesday brought a big crowd to the Carroll County Courthouse.
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 jailed while awaiting trial.
In Tuesday’s crowd at the Courthouse was the Libby’s family. Her family didn’t want to speak on camera about what happened in court Tuesday. Her sister Kelsi posted on Twitter, “I feel your love and support today and always. Thank you,” adding a gray heart emoticon.
The family weren’t the only ones from Delphi who came to the hearing. Ted Guy lives close to where the alleged murders happened. He said it was a priority for him to be at Tuesday’s hearing. “I just wanted to see what I could see. There’s so many rumors and podcasts and whatever; you don’t know what to believe, so I just wanted to see for myself,” Guy said.
John Smith owns the shop across the street from the Courthouse. He says there has been a dark cloud of energy surrounding Delphi since “Libby” German and “Abby” Williams were killed, “I think it’s put a lot of stress, especially younger people. They wonder, you know, ‘can this happen again? Is there somebody out there yet that’s still the murderer of two children,'” said Smith.
Smith is glad the case is moving forward. “It’s time to get it in court, get it heard and get it over with.”
Guy agreed. That’s why he was OK with the prosecution wanting to keep the probable cause affidavit secret. “If it’s going to hurt their case, I don’t want to see it released,” said Guy.
If the prosecution of Allen leads to a conviction, Guy and Smith said, the entire community would be relieved.
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.