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Richard Allen mugshot

Source: Carroll County Jail / other

DELPHI, Ind. — The lawyers for the man accused of killing Abby Williams and Libby German in 2017 say that the girls were murdered as part of a ritualistic killing related to Odinism.

It’s their latest statement as they continue to defend Richard Allen, who has been accused of the murders. He’s been held in police custody since late 2022.

The assertion by Allen’s lawyers now has people curious about what exactly may have gone on leading up to the killings, and what exactly Odinism is.

“For Odinists, this is sort of the religion of their blood,” said Dr. Jefferson Calico, a professor of World Religions at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. “It’s a racially based form of heathenry or Germanic Paganism. These are people that see it as a white man’s religion, you know. A racist religion.”

Allen’s lawyers say the girls’ murders were ritualistic to Odinism because of the way they say sticks were laid on and around their bodies at the scene of the murders in the form of Odinistic symbols. They believe it was an act of human sacrifice.

They say it is impossible for Allen to have carried out the murders by himself, which is why they say he is innocent.

According to Calico, human sacrifice is not something that modern-day Odenists, known as reconstructionists, tend to gravitate towards.

“Every reconstructionist I’ve talked to has been pretty explicit in rejecting human sacrifice as something not appropriate for contemporary people,” he said.

But Calico also is not ruling out that there are Odinists out there who do believe in human sacrifice, adding that “there are crazy people everywhere.”

At the moment there is no public evidence in the Delphi investigation that points to the killings being related to Odenism. Allen’s attorneys have named people who are Odinists who may have had something to do with the girls’ murders, though their names have not been released as part of the investigation.