Indiana Supreme Court orders Richard Allen’s attorneys reinstated

Posted at 7:04 PM, January 18, 2024 and last updated 8:44 AM, January 19, 2024

DELPHI, Ind. (Court TV) —Richard Allen, the Indiana, man charged with the 2017 murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, is getting part of what he asked for from the Indiana Supreme Court.

In a decision that came less than four hours after the hearing wrapped Thursday, a majority of the justices granted Allen’s request to reinstate the defense team removed by the trial judge. In a unanimous decision, the judges rejected Allen’s request for a new judge and a trial date within 70 days.

Richard Allen court arrival.

Richard Allen arrives for a hearing in the case against him for the 2017 murders of Libby German and Abby Williams along with former and new lawyers. (Scripps News Indianapolis)

On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an original action brought on Allen’s behalf. Chief Justice Loretta Rush closed the hearing by saying a decision from the court would be issued “as soon as possible.” Three hours and 45 minutes later, the court issued its ruling.

Allen sought relief from the High Court in November of last year, after the trial judge removed Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin for “gross negligence.” Special Judge Fran Gull appointed two new public defenders Robert Scremin and William Lebrato, and pushed the trial back almost a year to allow them time to prepare.

Allen alleged in court filings that Gull overstepped her authority and due process in removing Rozzi and Baldwin, and violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial by pushing the criminal trial back from January to October of this year.

Two men stand in a courthouse

Attorneys Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin are seen speaking together outside of a hearing at the Indiana Supreme Court on Jan. 18, 2024. (Barbara MacDonald/Court TV)

Before their removal, Rozzi and Baldwin alleged in court filings that Allen was being treated inhumanely in a maximum-security prison’s protective unit, and that law enforcement lied in obtaining a search warrant for his home prior to his arrest.

Rozzi and Baldwin also stated in filings that they’d be mounting a third-party defense — suggesting white nationalist members of a Nordic religion more likely killed the girls and that that information was overlooked by investigators.

Abigail Williams, 13, and best friend Liberty German, 14, disappeared while walking on a then-abandoned railroad trestle connected to the Delphi Historic Trails. A Snapchat photo taken by Libby showed Abby walking on the bridge minutes before they were encountered by a man in a blue jacket and jeans who ordered them “Guys, down the hill.”

A 42-second video of that encounter was found on Libby’s cell phone, next to her body. The girls’ bodies were discovered by volunteer searches the day after they went missing, on private property a quarter of a mile from the bridge.

The crime remained unsolved for nearly six years, until Allen’s arrest in October of 2022. Prosecutors say Allen admitted to being on the trials that day, and generally matches the description of witnesses who saw a man dressed in a blue jacket and jeans on the trails. They also say an unspent .40 caliber round found between the girls’ bodies was ejected from Allen’s Sig Sauer pistol recovered during the search of his home.

L too R: Abigail “Abby” Williams and Liberty “Libby” German (Family Photos)

Rozzi and Baldwin raised the issue of Allen’s pretrial treatment behind bars multiple times, saying he was living in hell and being treated as if he was already convicted of the crime. Allen’s new defense team also raised the issue in a motion to transfer request this month, asking the trial judge to relocate Allen to a county jail. Most pretrial defendants are housed in county jails. After Allen’s arrest the Carroll County Sheriff asked that he be moved because their small facility couldn’t guarantee Allen’s safety in such a high-profile case.

Also on Thursday, new documents were filed in his criminal case amending the charges against him. Previously he was charged with 2 counts of murder for killing the girls during an attempted kidnapping. Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland is requesting adding two counts of intentional murder, and two counts of kidnapping for each victim.