DELPHI, Ind. — Thursday marks a new era in the Delphi double murder case – the main suspect in the deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German is now without counsel and it will be up to Judge Fran Gull to appoint the new attorneys.
Judge Gull announced the shocking decision 30 minutes after a hearing in the case was supposed to start Wednesday afternoon. Richard Allen was never seen in the courtroom. Gull said she had sent him back to Westville Correctional Facility since his attorneys, Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi, had withdrawn from the case.
Fishers City Court Judge Dan Henke, who is not associated with the case, watched the brief two-minute appearance by Judge Gull from the FOX59/CBS4 studio.
Henke came in to bring an expert perspective to what was expected to be a two-hour-long hearing that was going to be broadcast on a 30-minute delay on FOX59.
This was the first time cameras were allowed in the courtroom for the Delphi double murder case.
After the shocking turn of events and quick exit of the courtroom by everyone inside, Henke shared his reaction to the search for two new defense attorneys for Richard Allen.
“The judge is going to have to find, first of all, two experienced attorneys,” Henke said. “Preferably two attorneys who know each other and have worked with each other.”
Henke said the list of attorneys qualified for this will be an exclusive one because of experience, availability, willingness and more.
”They’re going to be asked to devote a significant amount of their practice time to the preparation and defense of this case for several months if not a year,” Henke said.
The location will also be a factor, with the trial being held in Carroll County and the defendant, Richard Allen, in Westville Correctional Facility in northern Indiana.
”They have to maintain contact with their client and that is going to have to be face to face, so there is travel time, as well,” Henke said.
Henke said the attorneys who take on this case won’t be the traditional public defenders you might think of that take on cases assigned to them. These attorneys will be contract public defenders, who accept or decline the judge’s request.
”They may be private attorneys who don’t regularly do public defender work but will do this on a contract basis,” Henke said.
As Judge Fran Gull said Thursday afternoon, she does expect the former counsel to pass on the work they have already done to the new counsel. That would include the defense’s theory that Odinism played a factor in the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German.
”New counsel will have to evaluate that though independently and decide, ‘Do we want to continue with that strategy or do we want to try a different strategy?'” Henke said.
Something that was expected to be a topic of the Thursday hearing, was a potential Franks Hearing. It’s part of the motion by the defense to suppress certain items of evidence from the investigation.
Henke said that even though the defense team that filed the motion to suppress is now gone, that motion is still out there.
“The opportunity for that hearing is still there,” Henke said. “It’ll be up to the new council to decide whether or not they want to proceed with that or not.”
We expect to get some of these answers, at least a new trial date and new defense attorneys, at the Oct. 31 hearing in Carroll County.