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Crime News

Judge Rules Delphi Murder Trial Will Continue In Carroll County, Gag Order Stays

Jurors will be transferred from another county to decide whether Richard M. Allen is responsible for the 2017 murders of teenage friends Liberty German and Abigail Williams.

By Jax Miller
Suspect Arrested In Delphi Murders

The upcoming murder trial for a man accused of killing two young teens in 2017 will not be moved to another county.

Richard M. Allen, 50, appeared at the Carroll County courtroom Friday morning for what was a short 10-minute hearing to discuss previous motions filed by the defense, according to Fox Indianapolis affiliate WXIN. Allen’s court-appointed attorneys filed for a change of venue in November, citing the “highly publicized” nature of the case.

Judge Fran Gull agreed that finding jurors in Carroll County who hadn’t heard of the case would be “difficult, if not impossible.” However, Gull expressed that the costs of moving the trial to another county would be “extraordinary” and inconvenient for witnesses.

Gull ultimately ruled to keep the trial in Carroll County, opting to bring jurors from elsewhere, per WXIN. The prosecution and defense will have one week to decide from which county jurors will be selected.

RELATED: Mother Of Delphi Murder Victim Libby German Is Hopeful 'Justice Is Coming'

Also presented before Gull was the possible lift of a temporary gag order, implemented in December after Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland filed a state’s motion in response to a press release by Allen’s attorneys, which refuted the evidence detailed in the once-sealed probable cause affidavit.

A police handout of Richard Allen

Gull ruled the gag order would stay in effect. However, both the defense and the state are permitted to discuss procedural items and an upcoming bail hearing scheduled for Feb. 17, according to the Fox affiliate.

Allen is charged with the murders of teenage friends Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and Liberty “Libby” German, 14, whose bodies were found near the Delphi Historic Trials on Feb. 14, 2017, just one day after they disappeared.

The double homicide, widely referred to as the Delphi Murders, gained considerable media attention over the years, drawing interest from true-crime enthusiasts and online sleuths nationwide. Much of the interest came after the FBI released a video clip from German’s phone, capturing the alleged killer as he seemingly walked in their direction, saying, “Guys, down the hill,” around the time of their disappearance.

The case remained unsolved until ballistics tied an unspent .40 caliber round discovered near the girls’ bodies to a firearm owned by the defendant, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Allen was arrested in October and pleaded not guilty to murder charges, claiming he has “nothing to hide,” according to his attorneys.

Negative public attention continues to affect the case, including Allen’s personal safety, accounting for why his location at a state facility remains undisclosed. On Friday, he appeared in a protective vest, surrounded by officers.

The murder trial is scheduled for March 23. However, Judge Gull cited “extraordinary, voluminous evidence,” including “thousands upon thousands” of pages of discovery, that might cause her to push the date back.

Arguments about the trial date will be discussed at the bail hearing on Feb. 17.