At a hearing Tuesday to determine if records should remain sealed or be made public in the case against Richard Allen – the man charged with the 2017 murder of two young girls in Delphi, Indiana – prosecutors argued for continued secrecy while defense attorneys called for the documents to be released.
Judge Frances Gull ultimately took the matter under advisement and said she would issue a written ruling at a later, unspecified date – leaving records, including the affidavit establishing probable cause prosecutors have established against Allen, sealed for now.
Allen, 50, was arrested in late October and charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams. The girls were reported missing after going hiking in February 2017, their bodies later found less than a mile away. It was a crime that shocked the small town and terrified the community for more than five years.
Allen has pleaded not guilty and details on what led police to him remain under seal. He arrived at the Carroll County Courthouse for Tuesday’s hearing under tight security. His attorneys argued in court that they wanted the probable cause affidavit to be made public.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
“Our client’s the wrong guy,” Allen’s attorney Andrew Baldwin said. “You never know what person out there might read something and it might ring a bell. It might cause them to point a finger in the direction of the actual killer.”
But prosecutors argued to keep details of the case under wraps.
“This is still a very ongoing investigation,” said Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland, adding he has “good reason” to believe Allen was not the only actor involved in the case.
Defense attorneys claimed the affidavit doesn’t reflect that, and said they want the reasons for Allen’s arrest to be released.
“You know, I have a client who’s innocent and he wants the public to see that,” Allen’s attorney Bradley Rozzi said.
The victims’ families said they have a petition with more than 41,000 signatures in favor of keeping the case sealed. But media lawyers asking for the documents to be released said that neither side benefits if the strengths or weaknesses of the government’s case against Allen remain confidential.
“If the public doesn’t have an understanding of that, there’s no legitimacy,” said attorney Margaret Christensen. “There’s no protection for the accused and frankly, that’s not justice for the victims.”
A previously scheduled hearing for January was canceled Tuesday, with Allen next slated to be in court again for a bond hearing on Feb. 17.