DELPHI, Ind. — Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland has told the defense and the court what he will and will not agree to surrender to the attorneys representing accused Delphi killer Richard Allen.
Special Judge Fran Gull will hold a hearing in Carroll County Circuit Court Friday to listen to arguments regarding a change of venue, a permanent gag order and a defense motion that lists 29 specific pieces of evidence the attorneys claim they need to defend their client against charges that he killed Libby German, 14, and Abby Williams, 13, near the Monon High Bridge on February 13, 2017.
”I think the defense is doing the right thing in making a list of everything that they haven’t been given, so, it’s in the record so everyone from here on out can see everything that they have not been given so far,” said attorney John Tompkins, who is not connected to the case. ”You have to see everything. You have to see the entire investigative file. You have to see every interview that was ever done. You have to see every lead, every other suspect, what their sources of information were so you can see if it was trustworthy and reliable. You have to see the applications for search warrants to see if they were based on hearsay.”
Noted Indianapolis Defense Attorney Bob Hammerle, also not connected to the case, said the search warrant evidence may be key to quashing any items investigators claim they took from Allen’s house in October.
”I’d want the search warrant and the affidavit for the search warrant to find out if indeed if there was, going into his house, that it’s legally supportable. That’s the first thing I’d want find out,” he said. ”The prosecutor, if they’re gonna file charges, then, file the evidence. Make it in the discovery. Get it to the defense counsel, and let the public see what the evidence is in this case. It just can’t rely on the opinion of the prosecutor.”
In his response to the defense motion, McLeland readily agreed to or provided clarification to 18 requests for information regarding the identity of witnesses, statements, case reports, the search warrant, evidence favorable to the defendant and other items that are typically covered by Indiana trial rules.
McLeland represented that there was no grand jury called to hear this case.
The prosecutor objected to several other defense requests.
McLeland said he would not provide a statement attesting to exculpatory evidence favorable to Allen, nor a summary of the state’s opinions on statements made by Allen or witnesses, writing, “The Defense seems to be asking the State to do their work for them and formulate a defense for them,” and information about ongoing litigation by a retired Carroll County sheriff’s deputy, claiming he was demoted and targeted for retaliation because he offered an investigative alternative during the early days of the case that was rejected by Sheriff Tobe Leazenby.
During a hearing in November, McLeland shocked the courtroom by announcing that investigators believe Allen did not act alone in allegedly committing the murders, yet no other names have been directly connected to the murders.
”The prosecutor has already said that there’s other suspects,” said Hammerle. ”There’s no evidence in there [that] there’s any other suspects. So, the fact of the matter is, if the prosecutor is going public and saying that, get on there from discovery and reveal the basis of that.”
McLeland did respond affirmatively that the state would comply with a defense motion requesting, “A statement as to whether the Defendant, or any other person who participated in the alleged crime, was acting directly or indirectly at the investigation, or on behalf of the State of Indiana…”
Child pornography and child solicitation charges have been filed against Kegan Kline, a Peru man, who is accused of communicating with Libby on social media the night before the murders and arranging to meet her on the bridge that day.
Kline’s attorney said his client was cooperating with investigators, though the extent and content of that assistance have never been revealed.
Judge Gull will also hear arguments as to changing the location of the trial.
”Imagine the jurors from that county if they had to go home and feel constrained and compelled to find him guilty, or everyone else in the county, once a not-guilty verdict was returned, would know that they were the 12 people who found him not guilty but would not know the full extent of the evidence that justified the not guilty,” said Tompkins.
Judge Gull placed a temporary gag order in effect following a three-page defense press release arguing for its client’s innocence at the start of December.
The court will hear debate Friday on whether to make that order permanent.
”I would think that she would keep it in place,” said Hammerle. “There’s no harm to having that gag order on both sides from commenting on, etc.”
The judge has said she will take Friday’s arguments under advisement in order to issue final decisions in the weeks and months to come.
”There’s so much information to deal with, there’s so much volume of material to deal with, and the rulings she makes now are gonna last for the life of the case,” said Tompkins.
The defense will also go behind closed doors with the judge to seek funding for an investigator to work on Allen’s case.