DELPHI, Ind. — The judge overseeing the case against Richard Allen, the man accused of killing Abby Williams and Libby German in 2017, said Friday that the jury trial will stay in Carroll County, but the jury will be selected from a different county.
Judge Fran Gull cited the burden moving the trial would place on witnesses and the families of the girls and Allen. However, Judge Gull also said it was “painfully clear” that it would be “next to impossible” to find an impartial jury in the county.
Allen’s defense team had originally asked the judge to move the trial more than 150 miles away from Delphi, citing statistical data showing the local interest in the case and possible conflicts of interest.
“It’s obvious that we all agree that this is not the right place to do this,” Allen’s defense attorney Bradley Rozzi said. “I think it’s a logical conclusion, and a lot of that is just trying to deal with all the moving parts and not have to cause burden on other people.”
The focus now turns to which county should be used for jury selection.
Lafayette defense attorney Early McCoy sat in on Friday’s hearing but is not involved in the case. He said there is a lot to consider, such as exposure to news coverage and how big of a jury pool would be needed.
“The larger the city, the better the chance that you can find individuals who have not really paid much attention to this case,” McCoy said.
If the defense insists on its 150-mile separation, that would leave Evansville as the only major city in the state. McCoy said doing jury selection that far away would be pricey.
“We have very heavily populated counties to the north such as Porter, Lake, Allen,” McCoy explained. “You can find enough people, I think, in a shorter distance and have less expense and transportation.”
Regardless of what they decide, McCoy said finding and caring for a jury will be expensive. Judge Gull’s staff said they would immediately begin searching for hotel space, restaurants and entertainment for the jurors.
“The most important thing is we get a venire (jury pool) that we can be assured is fair, not prejudice, not biased. That is the goal,” Rozzi said.
Judge Gull said both the prosecution and the defense should come to an agreement on a county and inform her by next Friday.
Allen’s defense team didn’t indicate where they’d like to see jury selection take place.
Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland avoided reporters as he has done previously.