Indiana Supreme Court to hear matters in Richard Allen case

Posted at 4:29 PM, January 16, 2024 and last updated 10:16 AM, January 17, 2024

DELPHI, Ind. (Court TV) — Richard Allen, 51, of Delphi, Indiana is scheduled to go to trial in October on charges he brutally killed 13-year-old Abigail Williams, and 14-year-old Liberty German in 2017.

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. (WRTV)

But first, two Indiana civil attorneys asked the Indiana Supreme Court to weigh in on three key issues that could drastically alter Allen’s upcoming trial.

In a Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed last November, attorneys Mark K. Leeman and Cara Schaefer Wieneke asked on behalf of Allen for the court to:

  • To reinstate his former public defenders, Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin
  • Set a speedy trial date within 70 days of the high court’s decision
  • And to remove Special Judge Frances Gull and replace her with another Special Judge

Special Judge Frances Gull removed Allen’s previous defense team last October, citing “gross negligence” after leaked crime scene photos were linked to Andrew Baldwin’s office. She replaced them with Robert Scremin and William Lebrato, both of Allen County.

Before their removal, Rozzi and Baldwin asserted in court filings that Allen was “living in hell” in a protective unit at the maximum-security Westville Correctional Facility. Pre-trial defendants are typically housed in the county jail where the crime was committed, but after Allen’s October 2022 arrest, then-sheriff Tobe Leazenby asked the court to house him elsewhere because Carroll County couldn’t ensure his safety.

Judge Frances Gull sits on the bench

Judge Frances Gull announced that a scheduled hearing had been canceled and that Richard Allen’s attorneys had withdrawn from the case. (Court TV)

Rozzi and Baldwin also sought a Frank’s Hearing, accusing investigators of lying or misrepresenting facts in their affidavit for a search warrant for Allen’s home. That search uncovered the only known physical evidence linking Allen to the crime: A Sig Sauer pistol Allen owned that prosecutors say matched an unspent round found near the bodies after it was allegedly ejected from Allen’s gun.

Rozzi and Baldwin also asserted that members of a white supremacist cult, who more likely killed the girls, were also serving as guards in Allen’s prison unit.

The 21-page filed brief is also asking the High Court to honor his constitutional right to a speedy trial and set a new date within 70 days of the court’s decision. Allen’s trial had been scheduled for January 2024 but was pushed back almost a year to give the new defense team time to prepare. Allen is also asking the High Court to remove Special Judge Frances Gull and replace her, suggesting she is biased against him and the defense team he wants to represent him at trial.

Flowers are placed at the Monon High Bridge Trail in Delphi, Ind., Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, near where Liberty German and Abigail Williams were last seen and where the bodies were discovered. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Allen, a former CVS manager in Delphi, is accused of killing Abby and Libby while trying to kidnap them on February 13, 2017. The best friends were abducted while crossing the Monon High Bridge in Delphi, a once-abandoned railroad trestle that spans the picturesque Deer Creek.

Prosecutors say Allen told an investigator in 2017 that he’d been on the trails and bridge that day “to look at fish” in the creek, but claimed he had not seen Abby or Libby. That information was not looked into further until 2022 when a cold case investigator combed through the tips.

Allen is being held without bond on two murder charges and has pleaded not guilty. He’s currently being held in a protective unit of the maximum-security Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Weeks after he was transferred to Wabash Valley from Westville Correctional Facility, Allen’s new attorneys filed the six-page motion last week asking for Allen to be moved to a closer location, or their ability to represent Allen may be “seriously, if not fatally” impacted.

Court TV cameras will be inside the Indiana Supreme Court hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, at 11 a.m. ET. Court TV will be providing live coverage of the proceedings.