DELPHI — If the case against 50-year-old Delphi resident Richard Allen — charged in the killings of teenagers Abby Williams and Libby German — goes to trial, that trial would feature a jury pool from St. Joseph or Allen county.
In November, the defense filed a motion for change of venue in the case, citing the “extensive media attention” and “highly publicized” nature of the case against Allen, adding they believed the defendant would not receive an impartial jury if the trial were held in Carroll County.
“During the month of October, the search for ‘Richard Allen’ in Carroll County ranged between 1,000 and 10,000 searches for a county just over 20,000 residents,” Defense Attorney Bradley Rozzi wrote in that November motion for change of venue. “On average, around one in every two (50%) of Carroll County residents have conducted on-line searches of Richard Allen during the month of October following his arrest.”
Rozzi then compared that to Fort Wayne, located approximately 100 miles away from Delphi and roughly 13 times bigger than Carroll County.
“In the month of October, following his arrest, the average monthly searches for ‘Richard Allen’ in Fort Wayne ranged between 1,000 and 10,000 searches,” Rozzi argued. “... On average, therefore, one in every 26 (3.8462%) residents in Fort Wayne have performed an on-line search of ‘Richard Allen.'"
But during a Jan. 13 hearing, Special Judge Frances Gull told the court she firmly believed the trial should remain in Carroll County, with the jurors being the ones brought into the county.
“It’s painfully clear that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a jury here in Carroll County,” Gull said during that hearing. “The prosecution also agrees. … But it’s important that they try the case in Carroll County.”
Gull told the court her reasoning behind that was due in part to several invested interests in the case physically being in Carroll County, including families of both the girls and the defendant.
It's unclear when the ultimate decision will be made in choosing between St. Joseph or Allen county for a potential jury pool, but there is a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 17, which could address that issue.
It was Feb. 14, 2017, when the bodies of Williams and German were located along the banks of Deer Creek near the Monon High Bridge area, after being dropped off the day before but not returning to their pick-up location.
Five years later, on Oct. 31, 2022, investigators released that they had arrested Allen on two felony counts of murder for his alleged connection to the case.
During an interview with investigators, Allen admitted to being on the Monon High Bridge around the time the girls went missing, but he added he did not see Williams or German that day.