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Delphi murder suspect seeks to have key ballistic evidence excluded from trial

Richard Allen mugshot

Richard M. Allen (Indiana State Police)

The defense attorneys representing accused Delphi murderer Richard Allen have filed court documents seeking to prevent the state from presenting key evidence to the jury in the high-profile case.

Attorneys Brad A. Rozzi and Andrew J. Baldwin on Tuesday filed a “Motion in Limine Regarding Ballistics,” which is typically a pretrial request asking Special Judge Fran C. Gull to exclude certain evidence — in this case, evidence relating to the examination of firearms and ammunition — from the trial by ruling that it is inadmissible.

Allen is facing two counts of murder in the twin 2017 slayings of Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and her friend Liberty “Libby” German, 14, whose bodies were discovered in a wooded area just off of the Delphi Historic Trails system.

Abby and Libby vanished while walking the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi, Indiana, on Feb. 13, 2017. The trail traverses an abandoned stretch of what was once the Monon Railroad and crosses an old trestle over a small river or creek. The girls were found dead the next day in an area near the trestle and their deaths were determined to be homicides.

The motion filed by Allen’s attorneys is currently sealed but a probable cause affidavit previously filed by prosecutors highlights a key piece of ballistic evidence likely to be at the crux of the case against the accused murderer.

Liberty German and Abigail Williams. (Images via the FBI).

Liberty ‘Libby’ German and Abigail ‘Abby’ Williams (FBI).

While authorities have not released the cause of death for the two young victims, the affidavit states authorities recovered “a .40 caliber unspent round” from the scene of the murder that was located “between Victim 1 and Victim 2’s bodies” which was said to have “extraction marks on it.” An unspent round means the bullet was never fired but may have been loaded and extracted from a firearm chamber.

Authorities executing a search warrant on Allen’s home last year seized a Sig Sauer Model P226 .40-caliber handgun which Allen admitted he owned since 2001 and never allowed anyone else to use or borrow the weapon. The Indiana State Police Laboratory performed an analysis of the firearm and concluded that “the unspent round located within two feet of Victim 2’s body had been cycled through Richard M. Allen’s Sig Sauer.

Allen’s attorneys have previously taken issue with the state’s apparent reliance on the unspent round that was allegedly loaded in Allen’s gun as a way of connecting him to the murders.

“The probable cause affidavit seems to suggest that a single magic bullet is proof of [Allen’s] guilt. It is a bit premature to engage in any detailed discussions regarding the veracity of this evidence until more discovery is received, but it is safe to say that the discipline of tool-mark identification is anything but a science,” Allen’s attorneys wrote in court documents filed in December 2022. “The entire discipline has been under attack in courtrooms across this country as being unreliable and lacking any scientific validity. We anticipate a vigorous legal and factual challenge to any claims by the prosecution as to the reliability of its conclusions concerning the single magic bullet.”

Allen is scheduled to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court again on Thursday, where Judge Gull is expected to announce a trial date.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.