(NewsNation) — The trial of Delphi murder suspect Richard Allen is expected to take place in the county where the crimes took place, and the jury will be selected from another county, according to decisions made during a pair of hearings in connection with the case Friday.
Allen was arrested in October 2022 and charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German, whose bodies were found on Feb. 14, 2017, after the girls went for a walk on the Delphi Historic Trails in Delphi, Indiana.
Appearing in person in Carroll Circuit Court, Allen was heavily shackled and accompanied by officers.
The probable cause affidavit shows an unspent shell that was found between the girls’ bodies was forensically determined to have been cycled through Allen’s pistol.
Allen admitted to being on the trail, but denied any involvement in the murders.
Saying the costs to move the trial to another county would be “extraordinary,” Judge Fran Gull couldn’t see a way for it to be held outside of Carroll County.
Gull also said a Carroll County trial needed to be held for the convenience of witnesses and family members.
But Gull also said it would be “difficult if not impossible” to find jurors in Carroll County who have not been involved in the case in some capacity, according to NewsNation affiliate WXIN.
“It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a jury in Carroll County,” Gull said, according to Journal & Courier reporting on Friday morning proceedings that were closed to the public.
Allen’s attorneys in November requested the trial location be changed, arguing it would be difficult to form an impartial jury in Carroll County because of intense public scrutiny and media attention surrounding the case.
Bradley Rozzi, one of the attorneys for Allen, shared the judge’s apprehension about having the trial in Carroll.
“Well I think now it’s obvious that we all agree this is not the right place to do this and that fairness would dictate we move this case some distance away,” Rozzi said after the hearing.
The decision was then made to bring jurors in from a suitable outside county from which they could be bused into Carroll County and sequestered during the trial.
Gull gave the prosecutor and Allen’s defense attorneys one week to submit suggested counties from which they might pick the jurors, according to WXIN.
The judge also expressed skepticism that Allen’s trial would be on track for March 23, citing the “extraordinary, voluminous evidence” in the case that must be turned over to the defense.
Gull said she’ll hear arguments during the bail hearing on whether the trial can proceed as scheduled and noted that the state has been “diligent” in turning over “thousands upon thousands” of pages of discovery to Allen’s lawyers.
“It’s tough. It’s tough for Rick,” said Andrew Baldwin, one of the attorneys for Allen. “We just spent 30 minutes with him and he misses his wife, he misses human connection with people. It’s been hard for him.”
A gag order in the case has been in effect since December.
Allen’s bail hearing will take place Feb. 17, where discussions for a new trial date — scheduled for March — will take place, Gull said.
NewsNation affiliate WXIN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.