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Delphi murders: Indiana AG calls for ‘care and prudence’ in complicated criminal case

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is calling for “care and prudence” in the Delphi murders case, which has been marred by disorder since authorities began investigating the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German in February 2017.

Authorities last year charged Richard Allen, 51, in the Feb. 13, 2017, murders of Abigail, 14, and Libby, 13, who disappeared from a hike along the Monon High Bridge Trail in Delphi. Their bodies were found in a wooded area near the trail the next day, Feb. 14.

“These families deserve justice and closure for these heinous, heartbreaking murders,” Rokita said in a statement Tuesday. “Abby and Libby deserve justice. If this matter ever comes to the appellate court system, we will take immediate action, as we do in all our other cases, to see that the rule of law is upheld.” 

The attorney general also submitted a brief to the Indiana Supreme Court this week that aims to clarify legal issues in the double murder case, his office said in a press release.

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“We are simply advising the court on our understanding of the law, case law in particular, and seeking to assist the court in adjudicating a writ before it,” Rokita said. “Our office respects the authority and integrity of all legal and law enforcement professionals involved in this case. Ultimately, our main interest is ensuring the proper and fair administration of justice.”

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The attorney’s comments come after Allen petitioned a Carroll County court to remove Judge Fran Gull from the case and reinstate his attorneys, Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi. The lawyers withdrew from the case after one of Baldwin’s former colleagues leaked confidential photographs of the crime scene, which eventually made their way to the public.

Libby German and Abby Williams

Both Gull and Rokita disagreed with Allen’s petition. Rokita quoted Gull’s statement that Allen’s attorneys demonstrated “gross negligence and incompetence” in his brief filed Monday.

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“A writ of mandamus reinstating Allen’s former attorneys is not presently warranted,” Rokita said in the brief. “The conditions precedent for a writ are not satisfied as the claim was not clearly presented to the trial court and a remedy by appeal is adequate. Even were the Court to review the merits of Allen’s request, the record is not sufficiently developed for the Court to resolve the question.”

Richard Allen mugshot

Allen’s attorneys say the suspect wants a speedy trial in January, rather than the October date Gull scheduled, and Allen wants Baldwin and Rozzi to represent him, as FOX 59 Indianapolis first reported.

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Prior to their withdrawal from the case, Baldwin and Rozzi alleged in a 136-page memo filed in September that Libby and Abby’s deaths were part of a ritualistic sacrifice performed by members of a pagan Odinist cult in Indiana, arguing that branches and other items found at the scene of the girls’ murders were arranged in patterns specific to Odinism.

Prosecutors called the claims “colorful, dramatic” and “unprofessional.”

Officers escort Richard Allen out of court

Police recovered Libby’s cellphone under her body on Feb. 14, 2017, a day after the girls went hiking. The phone had a 43-second video that shows Abigail walking on the Monon High Bridge toward Libby while a man wearing a dark jacket and jeans walks behind her. The man can be heard ordering the girls “down the hill,” according to an affidavit.

Libby captured the video at 2:13 p.m., less than 25 minutes after she and Abigail’s family members dropped them off at the trail.

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Prosecutors say evidence from the crime scene matched evidence collected from Allen’s home in October 2022, when police executed a search warrant. They recovered a blue Carhartt jacket, a SIG Sauer P226 .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a .40-caliber S&W cartridge in a “wooden keepsake box” from a dresser between two closets in his bedroom.

Delphi murder victims

The handgun recovered at Allen’s home was consistent with the .40-caliber unspent bullet that police located at the site of the murders in 2017.

Allen also allegedly confessed to the crimes he has been accused of committing about five times while speaking with his wife over the phone from jail.

A gag order issued on parties involved in Allen’s case has prevented attorneys and police from speaking publicly about details of the murders and allegations against the suspect.

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