DELPHI, Ind. — As more information is revealed about the inner workings of the Delphi murders investigation, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is striking back at a statement issued late Thursday afternoon by attorneys representing suspect Richard Allen.
Attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Brad Rossi issued a statement poking holes in the investigation that led to the arrest of their client on October 26th at the Lafayette Post of the Indiana State Police where he was summoned for follow-up questioning.
Baldwin and Rossi write that Allen gave a voluntary statement in February of 2017 to, “a Conservation Officer outside of the local grocery store,” detailing his presence on the Monon High Bridge the day Libby German and Abby Williams were murdered, that Allen was never contacted again by police and did not dispose of his guns or vehicle or clothing, that testing on the “single magic bullet” that investigators claim links him to the murder scene, “is anything but science,” and the descriptions of suspicious cars near the bridge that day are varied and not conclusively specific to his automobile.
In response, Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby, an hour later wrote, “I feel a court of law is the proper and impartial setting for this matter to be vetted and not within the dominion of speculation or assumption of a public or social media arena. Patience and time must be afforded to the system, granting all aspects of the case to be brought to light.”
Meanwhile, Allen County Superior Judge Fran Gull, recently assigned by the Indiana State Supreme Court to hear the case, issued an order setting a January 13th date for Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland to argue his motion for a gag order on most participants in the case and the Defense to argue its change of venue motion to move the trial out of Carroll County.
These recent developments occurred as FOX59 News has learned of several issues that arose during the course of the investigation which began when the two girls were reported missing in the vicinity of Deer Creek east of Delphi on February 13, 2017.
Their bodies were discovered the next day, but the causes of death were never revealed.
According to the Probable Cause Affidavit supporting Allen’s arrest which was filed this past October 27th, “Investigators reviewing prior tips encountered a tip narrative from an officer who interviewed Richard M. Allen in 2017.”
The PC does not explain why that tip narrative was not reviewed until just days or weeks before Allen’s arrest this fall.
Sources indicate that a clerical error led to the mislabeling of the tip narrative in the case database, eventually leading to the reveal of the document during a recent typical file review.
The Indianapolis office of the FBI, which lent agents and technical expertise during the early days of the investigation, issued the following statement today:
“As stated in the past this is a complex multi-agency investigation. The implication that an alleged clerical error by an FBI employee caused years of delay in identifying this defendant is misleading. Our review of the matter shows FBI employees correctly followed established procedures.”
Sources indicate during the early days of the investigation, dozens of law enforcement personnel and volunteers answered a tip line and sifted through the first of more than 72,000 tips that were gradually received in this case.
There is no indication at this time of how such a substantial tip regarding a middle age man in clothes matching those of the killer admittedly walking on Monon High Bridge that day did not receive heightened attention or further inquiry for more than five years.
On October 13th, the day investigators raided his home, Allen told detectives that he recalled being on the trails leading to the bridge the day of the killings and was there to, “watch the fish.”
A witness told police she spotted a man, “wearing a blue colored jacket and blue jeans and was muddy and bloody. She further stated that it appeared he had gotten into a fight.”
Before the release of the PC this week, the most compelling evidence released by investigators included a fleeting fuzzy video clip from Libby’s cell phone that captured the image of a man in a blue jacket and jeans and his voice that ordered, “Guys. Down the hill.” The PC also recounted that on the remainder 47 seconds of that clip, one of the girls can be heard referring to the presence of a gun.
Detectives claim that an unspent bullet discovered at the crime scene came from a .40 handgun discovered in Allen’s house during the October search warrant.
As the search warrant remains sealed, it is impossible to determine how investigators convinced a judge they knew the gun matching the bullet would be found inside Allen’s house.
The bullet is also of a common caliber of weapon carried by law enforcement officers of which there were obviously several who took part in observing and processing the crime scene in the days after the killings leading to the possibility that the evidence may have been mistaken as police ammunition inadvertently left behind which might explain the delay in determining the origin of the round with a specific suspect’s gun.
The recent focus on Allen’s alleged involvement in the killings happened just as prosecutors and investigators were turning up the heat on Kegan Kline, a Peru man they suspect of communicating with Libby on a social media app the night before her death.
Kline faces 25 counts of child pornography and obstruction of justice as investigators claim he set up a meeting with Libby on the bridge for that day.
Kline has been incarcerated awaiting trial in Miami County since the summer of 2020, but it was only this past summer that his attorney, which the acquiescence of the prosecutor, convinced a judge to delay that trial as both sides were involved in, “negotiations.” Within days, Indiana State Police divers were searching the Wabash River where a source indicates several guns and knives were discovered but none of them linked to the Delphi case.
“This all comes back to Peru,” a source told FOX59 News as the Miami County city is not only the hometown of Kline but just ten miles south of Mexico, Indiana, where Allen lived most of his life.
In their motion seeking a change of venue, Allen’s attorneys highlighted the compactness of Carroll County, with its 20,000 residents, and Delphi, which has a population of 3,000, in arguing that anyone who calls that community home likely was involved in the search for the girls and their killer or had subjected themselves to extensive public and social media coverage of the investigation.
Consequently, the attorneys argued that moving the trial 150 miles away from Delphi might provide the best assurance of finding an unbiased jury as even nearby counties, such as Miami County, could be expected to share some of the same media or personal exposure issues.
While Prosecutor McLeland told Judge Gull last week that opening the PC to public scrutiny could jeopardize the investigation as he believed there were others involved in the case, Allen’s attorneys point out that the arrest affidavit gives no indication of another suspect.
At this point, Kline is the only living person publicly linked to the case even though ISP issued a pair of artist sketches of men seen at the bridge based on witness accounts, one of them an older man with facial hair and the other a clean-shaven young male, with no explanation of the difference in appearances or origin of the descriptions.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter has repeatedly praised the investigators and community cooperation and told FOX59 News that he has full confidence in the Probable Cause and the investigation that led to it.
In their statement, Allen’s attorneys state that, “it is our intent to scrutinize the discovery, as it is received, and give the necessary attention to the volumes of tips that we are receiving.”
That discovery process could reveal to the defense team the completeness of the evidence and witness statements arrayed against their client and the entire scope of the five-year plus investigation as well as any other individuals who received additional attention from detectives.
It is unclear if those lawyers have yet been provided with a copy of the October 13th search warrant investigators used to enter Allen’s home in an attempt to find evidence linking him to the crime scene.
It is worth noting that Attorney Baldwin is a co-defense counsel for accused Indianapolis triple killer Caden Smith whose attorneys convinced a Marion Superior Judge in October to disregard a purported murder weapon found in the teenager’s home due to a faulty search warrant.
That judge’s ruling is now pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Chief Deputy Tony Liggett led the Delphi investigation from its inception.
He wrote the PC that led to Allen’s arrest in October, just two weeks before his election as Carroll County Sheriff.
Liggett takes office January 1st.
In their statement, Allen’s attorneys note that Carroll County Sheriffs Deputy Michael Thomas filed a federal lawsuit in mid-October claiming that he was demoted from the Chief Deputy position in favor of Liggett by Sheriff Leazenby.
Thomas told FOX59 News that his demotion was the result of offering disregarded advice to bring in outside expertise during the early days of the Delphi investigation and because he unsuccessfully challenged Liggett in the May primary election for sheriff.