DELPHI, Ind. — An investigation by “The Murder Sheet” podcast, certain elements of which have been confirmed by FOX59, indicates an alleged leak of sensitive crime scene evidence by Richard Allen’s defense team that could derail the early 2024 trial of the man accused of killing two young girls in Delphi nearly seven years ago.
This past Thursday, Special Judge Fran Gull of Allen County issued an order for a hearing on October 19 in her Fort Wayne courtroom, “to discuss the upcoming hearing on October 31, 2023, and other matters which have recently arisen.”
Those “other matters” most likely include the revelation that a handful of Delphi crime scene evidence items have been circulated among the social media community that has focused on the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German near the Monon High Bridge on February 13, 2017.
It was just a year ago that Richard Allen was arrested and charged with those killings.
Allen’s attorneys, Andrew Baldwin of Franklin and Bradley Rozzi of Logansport, first earned the ire of Judge Gull last December when, just weeks after their appointments, the team released a three-page press release blasting the case against their client.
In response, Judge Gull issued a gag order on all parties, assuring that Allen’s guilt or innocence would be debated in a Carroll County courtroom and not in the media.
Then, this past spring, an inadvertent leak of discovery evidence popped up on social media, and Allen’s attorneys took responsibility for the mistake, resulting in an admonition from the Court to more carefully guard the State’s discovery documents.
September was marked by a flurry of defense filings claiming the State had withheld evidence and misled the original judge in seeking a search warrant for Allen’s home while trotting out a theory that cultists could have committed the murders.
Those filings drew a sharp rebuke from Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland, who decried what he referred to as sensationalistic and unsubstantiated claims even as investigators were forced to retrace their steps, conduct follow up interviews with sources and comply with massive discovery demands.
Now it appears that over the last month, social media discussions have centered around what would seem to be specific inside knowledge of the defense team’s strategy and evidence as well as claims that certain crime scene evidence had been acquired, though not published.
“The Murder Sheet” podcasters Kevin Greenlee and Áine Cain reported today and confirmed to FOX59 that a social media source revealed to them the existence of those evidentiary items on Oct. 5.
That tip led the podcasters to confirm the identities of persons associated with the leaked information.
One of those persons identified is reportedly a former professional associate of Baldwin’s.
Facebook messages reviewed by FOX 59 contain discussions by two other people — a man from Hamilton County who reportedly received the information from the former Baldwin associate, and a Texas man with whom he shared that information.
In those messages, the Indiana participant writes, “defense just got girls phone records,” and, “they are saying that there is stuff good for Rick.”
In another message from earlier this month, the Facebook author writes he is supposed to go to Franklin during the upcoming weekend and that he just wants, “a fair fight,” for the defense while blasting the prosecution.
That was followed up by a handful of messages from Oct. 5 as the same participant refers to, “my guy,” and, “He’s going to be with Andy tonight. He was talking about me going down Saturday.”
There are also messages where the sender asks the recipient to, “protect me,” in the release of evidentiary items as the two correspondents discuss how best to cover their tracks while referring, presumably, to an individual involved in the inadvertent leak of defense evidence last spring.
Greenlee and Cain told FOX59 that the Texas social media Delphi follower contacted them when he became aware of the explosive and sensitive nature of the leaked information and urged them to contact Indiana State Police investigators so as not to run afoul of the Court’s gag order, be cited for Contempt of Court or be found in possession of illicitly obtained exclusive evidence.
Following a conversation with investigators, the podcasters said they then deleted the files from their electronic devices and posted a podcast update today, detailing their involvement in the acquisition of the leaked information and the identification of the participants while calling upon the social media community to show restraint and not disseminate the evidence or discuss it in detail.
ISP reportedly launched its investigation into the leak early last week, which would have preceded Judge Gull’s Thursday morning notice of an upcoming hearing to consider, “other matters which have recently arisen.”
FOX59 has learned that an individual named as one of the social media followers involved in the leak died unexpectedly this past week after investigators began their inquiry.
FOX59 has reached out to Allen’s defense team for comment, which likely will not be forthcoming due to the gag order.
Legal experts consulted by FOX59 indicate that a leak of this nature, considering earlier orders from the judge, might result in either another warning from the bench or the dismissal of the attorneys and the appointment of a new legal team to represent Allen and therefore almost certainly lead to a delay in his January 8, 2024, trial date.
Judge Gull has yet to rule on a request from the media for the presence of cameras in the courtroom during Allen’s trial or a motion by his attorneys to dismiss the search warrant that led investigators to the defendant’s home last October where detectives claim they found a gun that matched a bullet casing reportedly found at the crime scene.