WESTVILLE, Ind. – Citing the deteriorating physical and mental condition of their client, attorneys for Delphi murder suspect Richard Allen want him moved to a new location.
In an emergency motion filed Wednesday, Allen’s defense team contends said their client has endured poor conditions at Westville Correctional Facility. He was assigned to the facility for safekeeping, given the high-profile nature of his case.
They want him moved to the Cass County Jail, saying it would be better for logistical reasons as well as the wellbeing of their client.
Allen faces two counts of murder in the deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German in February 2017 in Delphi. The case went unsolved for years before Allen’s arrest was announced in late October 2022, more than five years after the murders.
His attorneys said Allen has been sleeping on a pad on a concrete floor in a 6 foot by 10 foot cell “no larger than that of a dog kennel,” according to the emergency motion. He often wears the same clothes for days and has been unable to visit his wife or other family members.
Allen makes calls to family members through a tablet, which is monitored by prison officials. He’s afforded “little, if any, recreation time outside of his cold, concrete and metal quarters,” according to the filing.
Allen’s attorneys described him as isolated and said they have to “travel for hours” to see their client. The conditions are harming Allen’s physical and mental health—and impairing his attorneys’ ability to mount their defense, they argued.
From the motion:
“It is difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. Allen’s Attorneys to share confidential and sensitive information with Mr. Allen due to the logistical challenges associated with Mr. Allen’s segregation and isolation to the extent that Mr. Allen is being deprived of his constitutional right to assist in his defense.”
His attorneys argue that Allen is being treated “less favorably” than convicted criminals, many of whom are housed in less secure areas and are afforded services and contact visits with friends and family.
His defense attorneys have noticed a change in Allen’s demeanor recently. They have generally viewed Allen as polite, communicative and in good humor “in spite of his false arrest and circumstances.” But they’ve noticed a “steep decline” in his ability to communicate and assist in his defense, according to the motion.
“Simply put, this version of Richard Allen was a very different version than counsel for Mr. Allen had interacted with over the past five months,” the motion said.
His attorneys believe he’s having trouble communicating and appears to be suffering from memory loss. To demonstrate their perceived decline in Allen’s condition, the motion included a pair of photos—one taken a year or two before his arrest and another taken on April 4, 2023. The April 4 photo showed Allen looking gaunt.
“The conditions under which Mr. Allen has been forced to endure are akin to that of a prisoner of war,” his attorneys wrote in the motion.
Allen’s attorneys found space in the Cass County Jail about 20 miles from the Carroll County Courthouse. They said he would have better access to his defense team and would be able to see his family regularly. Attorneys said they contacted Prosecutor Nick McLeland about moving Allen, who had no objection to relocating him closer to family.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, on the other hand, declined to have Allen moved out of the Westville facility, his attorneys said.
“Mr. Allen asserts that said denial is a deliberate attempt to impose conditions upon him that are intended to frustrate his purpose in defending against the charged allegations and create hardship on him which would drive any human to mental breakdown,” the motion said.
Because of the volume of evidence in need of review—including 3,000 pages of law enforcement reports, thousands of hours of surveillance video and interviews and over 31,000 tips about the case—attorneys said Allen’s current situation is untenable for an effective defense.
His attorneys are asking the court to authorize Allen’s relocation to the Cass County Jail before he “is placed in further jeopardy.”
Richard Waples, an attorney who is not connected to the case, agreed that Allen appeared to be wilting away.
“It looks like he is going downhill fast,” Waples said. “This implicates not only his rights to humane conditions and confinement but also his fair trial and representation rights. He needs to be able to work with his lawyers to defend himself against the charges that are brought against him is very important.”
Waples believes the judge will likely agree to move Allen as long as he is convinced that the Cass County Sheriff and the Cass County Jail are equipped to securely hold the accused.
“If the prosecutor wants a fair trial for this man and the judge wants to make sure that it’s a fair and impartial trial, I would think that they would grant this motion to get him over to the adjoining county as soon as possible,” Waples said.