By BETH HEMPHILL
DELPHI, Ind. (Court TV) — Cameras have been permitted into an Indiana courtroom for a “bombshell” hearing in the case against the alleged killer of two Indiana teens, who is being transported from Westville Correctional Facility to the courthouse later this afternoon.
Richard Allen is charged with murdering Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and Liberty “Libby” German, 14, who disappeared while walking the Delphi Historic Trail on Feb. 13, 2017. The girls’ bodies were found the next day, less than half a mile from the Monon High Bridge.
Allen’s public defenders filed what is known as a “Franks motion” on Sept. 18, arguing that evidence obtained from a search warrant should be inadmissible during his trial because a detective lied to obtain it. The 136-page motion outlined 92 reasons the girls’ murders could not have been committed by a single person and instead pointed to members of a white nationalist group known as “Odinism.”
Prosecutors responded to Allen’s initial motion, describing it as “colorful, dramatic, highly unprofessional” and “not completely true.” The prosecution has also accused Allen’s attorneys of using these motions to get around the gag order, in an attempt to plead their case to the media.
One of the lingering questions had been whether Judge Frances Gull will allow cameras into the courtroom after the law that once banned the broadcasting of legal proceedings in Indiana was amended, leaving it up to the trial court judge’s discretion.
Last month, Allen’s defense asked the court to allow broadcast cameras for all future proceedings, while prosecutors have expressed “serious concerns” to this request, stating that it would be distracting and create a “circus atmosphere” where 15-second video clips could give an inaccurate impression of the justice system.
Despite these concerns, Judge Gull ruled to allow cameras in the courtroom during Thursday’s hearing, according to a court order filed Tuesday.
“The Court has determined that allowing recording of the October 19, 2023, hearing is permitted provided that the means of recording will not distract the participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings, and the hearing itself is a non-confidential proceeding. The Court, therefore, authorizes the recording and broadcasting of the hearing set for October 19, 2023.”
Judge Gull’s order makes Thursday’s hearing the first time in history that Court TV cameras have been inside an Indiana courtroom. Judge Gull did stipulate that all media must wait 30 minutes before broadcasting.
Thursday’s hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Allen’s next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for October 31.