By LAUREN SILVER
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Court TV) — A half-hour after a last-minute hearing was scheduled to begin for Richard Allen, the judge announced the hearing was canceled because the two attorneys representing Allen had withdrawn from the case.
Allen is charged with murdering Abigail “Abby” Williams and Liberty “Libby” German, teenagers who disappeared while out walking on the Delphi Historic Trail on Feb. 13, 2017. The girls’ bodies were found the next day.
A hearing scheduled for Oct. 19 was expected to address recently leaked graphic crime scene photos and claims that Allen’s attorneys had made that the teenagers had been murdered in a ritual sacrifice by a white nationalist group. The hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. ET, but Judge Frances Gull didn’t take the bench until nearly 2:30 p.m.
Gull immediately said there had been an “unexpected turn of events” in the case, and that the attorneys representing Richard Allen had withdrawn from the case. She said she granted one attorney’s oral motion to withdraw and would accept the other’s written request, which was expected in the coming days.
Two hours after the hearing, Court TV obtained a memorandum submitted to the court on James Baldwin’s behalf. Baldwin was one of the attorneys representing Allen prior to the hearing. The memo, written in response to the leaked photos, says “Attorney Baldwin did nothing wrong. He was snookered and abused.”
“The issue before the court is a horrible tragedy created by persons not related to the defense of Mr. Allen. There were three disseminators, one of which committed suicide after the law enforcement investigation began.”
According to the memo, Baldwin was “betrayed” by a friend whom he trusted to respect his office space and accessed the photos. “Since that transgression, Mr. Baldwin has kept all Delphi-related items locked in a room or a locked fireproof file cabinet. Furthermore, defense counsel has put together a plan for curative action in which no items will be left unattended for even a second in any unlocked room.”
The memo specifically argued against Baldwin being removed as Allen’s counsel as a sanction for the leaked photos.
Allen is entitled to a public defender, and Gull said she would reach out for a new attorney to join the case as his representation.
Because Allen no longer had representation, the hearing was canceled and he was transported back to jail.
“I apologize,” Gull told the gallery. “I know many of you have been waiting for several hours.”
Gull also apologized to the prosecutors, whom she said had brought witnesses to testify at the scheduled hearing.
The next scheduled hearing in the case, Oct. 31, remains on the docket, as Gull said she believes Allen will have new representation by then.