CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. — Carroll County officials are meeting this week to determine how to handle the anticipated rush of media and onlookers who will throng to the county courthouse in downtown Delphi next Tuesday for the first public hearing into the case of the man accused of killing two girls near the Monon High Bridge along Deer Creek more than five years ago.
Richard Allen is currently housed at the Westville Correctional Facility under the control of the Indiana Department of Correction and may attend the hearing in person now that he is represented by two court-appointed attorneys.
Allen is charged with two counts of Felony Murder for the killings of 15-year-old Libby German and 14-year-old Abby Williams who were hiking along the bridge and its paths during a day off from school on February 13, 2017.
Their bodies were discovered the next day nearby on the property of Ron Logan, who died this past winter of COVID-19 infection.
In March of 2017, FBI agents searched Logan’s home and found no evidence implicating him in the murders though he was later sent to prison to serve out 18 months of a probation violation for a previous Operating While Intoxicated conviction that came to light during the Delphi investigation when the farmer created a phony alibi to claim he was not in Delphi during the hours the girls were killed.
Sources have told FOX59 News that Allen voluntarily came forward in the early days of the investigation and admitted he was in the vicinity of the bridge that day.
Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland successfully convinced Carroll Circuit Judge Benjamin Diener to seal the Probable Cause Affidavit investigators relied on to arrest Allen a week after searching his Delphi home for evidence linking him to the murders and the crime scene.
That document was sealed during Allen’s non-public initial hearing on October 28, two days after his arrest at the Lafayette Post of the Indiana State Police.
”It would have to be for substantial cause and it would have to be of a very limited duration,” said Fishers City Judge Dan Henke, a former prosecutor and defense attorney who has no connection to the case. ”He has a right to know the nature of the charges against him.”
Citing the overwhelming demands the case made upon his court and fears for his own personal safety, Diener recused himself from the case and was replaced by Allen County Superior Judge Fran Gull who will arrive from Fort Wayne on November 22 to preside over a hearing on whether to release the PC, keep it sealed or direct the prosecutor to make certain redactions before it is made public.
A source told FOX59 News that Judge Gull is inclined toward the release of the document and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said he is not opposed to the release, that, “the Probable Cause stands on its own,” and, “the investigative quality will not be affected by its release.”
The most significant detail that could be released would confirm the investigative process that led detectives back to Allen five-and-a-half years after he first came forward.
”When a year down the road you find out, ‘Oops, we just found out he was there at the time and he’s involved,’ so, you have to add that back to your investigation and its almost like restarting the whole thing again,” said retired IMPD Homicide Detective Steve Deboard, “and I’m sure the investigators in Delphi would say the same thing.”
Though the FBI devoted substantial resources to the first year of the investigation, it was the U.S. Marshal Service that was present on the stage and with its agents ringing the sanctuary of a church where the press briefing was held on October 31 when officials confirmed Allen’s arrest.
Marshals track fugitives and provide expertise in cell phone tracing and the recovery of evidence from electronic devices.
The PC may reveal whether Allen bares a resemblance to any images or audio captured on the cell phone of Libby German on the day of the killings.
Investigators have previously alleged in the case against a Peru man that Libby was communicating with him through a social media app the night before her death.
Kegan Kline faces 25 counts of child pornography, child solicitation and obstruction of justice unrelated to the Delphi murders.
Judge Henke said it is possible in such a high-profile case that the attorneys may seek or Judge Gull may issue a gag order on all persons related to the trial.