Delphi murder suspect says he’s ‘at the mercy of the court’

Crime

(NewsNation) — The man accused of killing two teenage girls in Delphi, Indiana, has requested a public defender in a letter to the court filed Wednesday.

In the letter, Richard Allen said he is no longer employed and his wife had been forced to quit her job.

“I, Richard M. Allen, hereby throw myself at the mercy of the court. I am begging to be provided with legal assistance in a public defender or whatever help is available,” he wrote in the letter to the Carroll County Circuit Court.

Allen, 50, of Delphi, is charged with two counts of murder in the killings of Libby German, 14, and Abby Williams, 13, on Feb. 13, 2017, a quarter-mile east of the Monon High Bridge along walking trails in the city.

Indiana State Police arrested Allen on Oct. 26, but his arrest wasn’t announced until Oct. 31.

According to Allen’s letter, which was obtained by NewsNation affiliate FOX59, he intended to hire private counsel but didn’t account for how expensive it would be, and he didn’t know his wife would lose her job.

“At my initial hearing on Oct. 28, 2022, I asked to find representation for myself,” Allen wrote in the letter that was postmarked Nov. 7. “However, at the time I had no clue how expensive it would be just to talk to someone.

“I also did not realize what my wife and I’s immediate financial situation was going to be,” he wrote. “We have both been forced to immediately abandon employment, myself due to incarceration and my wife for her personal safety,” Allen wrote.

Allen did not elaborate on the threats to her safety.

“Again, I throw myself at the mercy of the court. Please provide me whatever assistance you may,” he wrote, according to the Journal and Courier.

Indiana attorney J.P. Roman-Lagunas told NewsNation affiliate WXIN the case is “unusual” in terms of its magnitude.

He also explained that the next step in the Delphi double-murder case is for the court to find an experienced defender.

“Typically, they would look in Carroll County and find someone who is qualified and one of their public defenders,” Roman-Lagunas said. “My understanding is that Carroll County contracts out their defense work, and so they would need to find someone qualified enough (for) a case like this.”

Roman-Lagunas said it’s not typical for a public defender to turn down a case, but it’s a possibility.

“If a public defender didn’t feel qualified enough or if the attorney didn’t feel qualified enough to take on a case of this magnitude, certainly I don’t think the court would want to appoint someone who did not feel comfortable taking it,” Roman-Lagunas said.

Another big question is where the case will be tried.

According to NewsNation affiliate WGN, Allen has been moved at least twice, once to the White County Jail, and subsequently to an undisclosed state facility for his own safety. 

“Certainly, I think the defense may file a motion to change the venue and probably will. I just don’t know how effective that will be because this case is high-profile in every county,” Roman-Lagunas said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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