Trial date set during hearing for Delphi murders suspect
DELPHI, Ind. (WNDU) - The man accused of murdering two teenage girls in Delphi more than six years ago was back in the courtroom Thursday morning for a hearing.
Richard Allen was arrested last October and charged with the February 2017 murders of teenagers Abby Williams and Libby German. Allen was back in court after the defense filed several motions, including one that looks to prohibit the use of ballistics evidence and another that aims to move Allen closer to his attorneys.
Most of the day was spent discussing Allen’s housing conditions and how he’s treated at the Westville Correctional Facility. While there was a brief mention of the motion to suppress the ballistics evidence, a determination on both motions will come at a later date. However, the judge did set a trial date before it was all said and done.
The court heard from six witnesses in total that all had some sort of background or experience at the Westville Correctional Facility, the Cass County Jail, and the Carrol County Jail — including an intern who used to work with the defense attorney.
This was all so the special judge appointed to oversee the case, Frances Gull, could learn if Allen was being treated equally to other pre-trial inmates at the DOC, of which there are currently none at Westville. Witnesses also shed light as to why they took extra safety measures to keep Allen safe, even though there didn’t seem to be any direct threats toward him or the facilities where he was held.
Earlier this year, Allen’s attorneys described his conditions in prison as “akin to those of a prisoner of war.” In court on Thursday, Allen appeared noticeably more frail and looks to have lost considerable weight since since his first court appearance last fall. According to our sister station WTHR in Indianapolis, Allen’s wife removed her glasses and wiped away tears when she saw him walk into court.
Moving back to the ballistics evidence motion that was expected by some to be a focal point in court on Thursday, arrest documents allege an unspent round from Allen’s gun was found at the crime scene between the girls’ bodies. He was arrested and charged with two counts of murder a week after Indiana State Police made that determination.
Allen’s attorneys described the state’s evidence as “flimsy,” and they raised serious questions about the science used to establish a possible link between Allen’s gun and the unspent round found at the crime scene.
While Gull is taking the ballistics evidence motion and the motion to revise the safe keeping order under advisement, we won’t learn about her decision until a later date. However, she did grant a motion for a restraining order against the DOC to stop filming the defense attorneys with a camcorder as they visit with Allen under his right to privacy.
It’s also worth noting that the defense attorney and prosecutor both mentioned “incriminating” statements that Allen allegedly made while in prison during Thursday’s hearing. According to WTHR, the prosecution said Allen “confessed five or six times to killing the girls.” But the defense team said those vague statements are inconsistent with Allen’s previous statements of denial.
There were no comments after court let out due to the gag order that keeps anyone involved in this case from speaking publicly about it.
Gull set Allen’s trial date for Jan. 8-26, 2024. She mentioned that more motions will likely be filed and ruled on in between now and then.
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