DELPHI, Ind. — For years, the Delphi murders investigation fell quiet. Now it seems there’s a new development just about every single day.
Attorneys Brad Rozzi & Andrew Baldwin, who represent suspect Richard Allen, have released a statement ahead of the new January 13th, 2023, hearing scheduled by Judge Fran Gull.
On that date, Judge Gull will hear arguments for two major requests. First, Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland’s gag order request, which would prevent anyone involved in the case from speaking publicly. Secondly, the trial move request from Allen’s team, which claims Allen would not receive a fair trial in Carroll County and thus should be moved 150 miles away.
Richard Allen is charged with the 2017 murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German. The probable cause affidavit was released this week, which contained a few details that explain why Indiana State Police arrested Allen in October. Multiple witnesses claim to have seen a man that looked like Allen and a car that looked like Allen’s. State Police also include a note about a bullet found near one of the bodies that matched a gun owned by Allen.
Richard Allen voluntarily spoke to police in 2017, but his interview was largely forgotten about until investigators started reviewing old tips and interviews. That’s when police moved forward with the case against Allen.
The following is a statement released by Richard Allen’s attorneys, concerning several recent developments in the Delphi murders investigation:
“As Richard (Rick) Allen’s attorneys, we have received multiple requests from local and national media for interviews and comment since the unsealing of the probable cause affidavit. It would be virtually impossible to comply with these requests and continue to focus on the merits of Rick’s defense. Therefore, we offer up these thoughts:
We do not want to try this case in the media and we intend to adhere to the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct that provide guidance on pretrial publicity. However, the police and prosecutor’s office have conducted many press conferences over the five-plus years of this investigation and following our client’s arrest. On the other hand, Rick’s ability to assert his innocence has been reduced to only one short, post-hearing press conference. Accordingly, we feel it appropriate, necessary, and within the bounds of our rules of professional conduct to make a few comments concerning the probable cause affidavit and Rick’s innocence.
Rick is a 50-year-old man who has never been arrested nor accused of any crime in his entire life. He is innocent and completely confused as to why he has been charged with these crimes.
The police did not contact Rick after Libby German and Abby Williams went missing, rather Rick contacted the police and voluntarily discussed being on the trail that day. Like many people in Delphi, Rick wanted to help any way he could. Rick contacted the police to let them know that he had walked on the trail that day, as he often did. Without Rick coming forward, the police probably would not have had any way of knowing that he was on the trail that day.
Rick volunteered to meet with a Conservation Officer outside of the local grocery store to offer up details of his trip to the trail on the day in question. Rick tried to assist with the investigation and told the police that he did recall seeing three younger girls on the trail that day. His contact with the girls was brief and of little significance. Rick does not recall if this interaction with the Conservation Officer was tape-recorded but believes that the Conservation Officer scribbled notes on a notepad as Rick spoke to him.
After Rick shared his information with law enforcement officials, he went back to his job at the local CVS and didn’t hear from the police for more than 5 years.
The next time Rick heard from the police was in October, 2022. This was approximately two weeks before a contested Sheriff’s election and within days of a federal lawsuit filed against the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office by its former second in command, Michael Thomas.
In the lawsuit, Thomas claims that he (Thomas) “had made suggestions and offered assistance in the investigation of a high-profile child homicide investigation” but those suggestions and offers were rejected by the Sheriff. Thomas further claimed that the Sheriff and others in the department feared the disagreements with Thomas would become publicized as a result of the political campaign for Sheriff.
Thomas claims in the suit that he was ultimately demoted and replaced by Tony Liggett, who later that year won the 2022 election for Sheriff. Furthermore, Thomas claims he was also removed from high profile cases.
Rick was ultimately arrested on or about October 28, 2022.
In the 5+ years since Rick volunteered to provide information to the police, Rick did not get rid of his vehicle or his guns and did not throw out his clothing. He did not alter his appearance; he did not relocate himself to another community. He did what any innocent man would do and continued with his normal routine.
The probable cause affidavit seems to suggest that a single magic bullet is proof of Rick’s guilt. It is a bit premature to engage in any detailed discussions regarding the veracity of this evidence until more discovery is received, but it is safe to say that the discipline of tool-mark identification (ballistics) is anything but a science. The entire discipline has been under attack in courtrooms across this country as being unreliable and lacking any scientific validity. We anticipate a vigorous legal and factual challenge to any claims by the prosecution as to the reliability of its conclusions concerning the single magic bullet.
On Rick’s behalf, we argued to have the PCA unsealed. Rick has nothing to hide. As importantly, we were hoping that we would receive tips that would assist us in proving up his innocence. Not surprisingly, we have been inundated with tips from a variety of sources, all of which will be vetted by our team. Although it is the burden of the prosecutor to prove Rick’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense team looks forward to conducting its own investigation concerning Rick’s innocence. We appreciate those that have reached out to support his cause.
The prosecutor mentioned, at the last hearing, his belief that others may have been involved in the killing, yet there was no mention in the PCA about a second suspect involved in the killing. The defense is confused by such discrepancies in the investigation and will be in a better position to respond as more discovery is received.
Rick Allen owned a Ford Focus in February of 2017. His Ford Focus is not, in any way, similar to the distinctive look of the PT Cruiser or Smart Car that was described by the witnesses. It seems that the CCSD is trying to bend facts to fit their narrative.
At this point in time, we have received very limited information about this case and look forward to having something more to view than that which was offered up in the sparse PCA.
Moving forward, it is our intent to scrutinize the discovery, as it is received, and give the necessary attention to the volumes of tips that we are receiving. To the extent we continue to discover information that points to Rick’s innocence, we will offer up this information to the public, so long as we are not prohibited from doing so as a result of the recent request by the Prosecutor for a gag order or by the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct.”
Brad Rozzi & Andrew J. Baldwin
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