The prosecutor pressing forward with murder charges against Richard Matthew Allen, 50, in Indiana’s Delphi Murders issued a statement in defense of his mostly secret case on Wednesday.
The statement, published by Indianapolis FOX affiliate WXIN, reads as follows:
The Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office appreciates the Judge hearing our arguments yesterday morning and looks forward to her ruling. As I stated in court yesterday, we strongly believe the evidence shows Richard Allen was involved in the murder of Libby and Abby. Because the investigation is ongoing and given the intense public interest in the case, we think it would be best if the documents remain sealed. Regardless of the ruling, we believe we have a very solid case against Mr. Allen and look forward to making our argument in trial.
The statement says Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland believes Allen “was involved” in the twin murders of Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and her friend Liberty “Libby” German, 14, and that roughly tracks with the felony-murder-style legal theory enshrined in the specific subsection of Indiana law under which Allen is charged.
Allen, under Indiana Code § 35-42-1-1(2), is accused of killing “another human being while committing or attempting to commit” another crime or crimes, including “arson, burglary, child molesting . . . kidnapping, rape, robbery, human trafficking, promotion of human labor trafficking, promotion of human sexual trafficking, promotion of child sexual trafficking, promotion of sexual trafficking of a younger child,” or “child sexual trafficking.”
As Law&Crime noted in a previous report that unpacks the charges against Allen, it is unclear from the docket precisely which underlying offense or offenses is alleged in the Delphi case — but the list of possibilities contained within the statute is harrowing.
German and Williams vanished while walking the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi, Indiana, on Feb. 13, 2017. The trail traverses an abandoned stretch of what once was the Monon Railroad and crosses an old trestle.
It was on or near the trestle that the two girls disappeared. The girls’ bodies turned up on Feb. 14, 2017.
It is possible that kidnapping is alleged as the underlying crime because the authorities long ago publicized a brief video clip recorded by German of someone saying “guys, down the hill.” Most of the clip has never been made public, nor have many other details about the grim case.
Wednesday’s statement by prosecutors was a thinly veiled attempt to bolster the case after two defense attorneys for Allen sharply criticized what currently remains locked in a court clerk’s file.
Much of the criticism was aimed at a request by prosecutors — and, subsequently, an order by a judge — to keep the probable cause affidavit against Allen sealed long after his arrest. A coalition of news organizations and even Allen’s attorneys have sought to release the allegations so that the public can inspect them and subject them to the type of scrutiny prosecutors must normally face when charging a defendant.
Sealed records are not rare, but it is rare to keep an accusatory instrument fully sealed after an arrest.
Prosecutors suggested that others might have been involved in the crime when positing rationale for keeping the file closed during a Tuesday hearing.
Andrew J. Baldwin, a defense attorney for Allen, called the charging document “flimsy” while speaking to reporters after a hearing to ascertain whether or not the document should remain secret. A judge will issue a decision on that issue at a later date.
Baldwin said he and his co-counsel Brad Rozzi were “not impressed” with the way the affidavit attempts to tie his client to the double murder.
“It may be weird for defense lawyers, I suppose, to be arguing that we want things unsealed, but that’s how confident we are in our client,” Baldwin also said. “That’s how confident we are that the evidence contained, at least what’s written in the probable cause affidavit, is nothing for us to worry about. We don’t know what other evidence is out there, but we’re confident that whatever is out there is not going to be enough to show that our client did anything here.”
Baldwin said Allen is “confused” and “bewildered” about why he’s being charged and has told his attorneys that he’s innocent.
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Author: Aaron Keller
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