Delphi murders case to be tried in Carroll Co., judge to bring in outside jury

Prosecution and defense have one week to agree on county from where outside jury will be selected
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:21 AM EST
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DELPHI, Ind. (WPTA) - The man accused of killing two teen girls in Delphi in 2017 appeared in a Carroll County courtroom Friday morning.

21Alive News is in the courtroom for the hearing Friday as Special Judge Fran Gull from Allen County considers whether to lift a gag order that was previously issued in the case.

Prior to the hearing the judge met with both sides behind closed doors. This delayed Friday’s hearing which started at 10:26 a.m.

Inside the courtroom the front rows were reserved for family and friends while police and the media filled the rest of the room.

One Judge Gull was sworn into the courtroom two women were led into the courtroom by police and were placed in the row behind the defense team.

Allen was led into the courtroom surrounded by law enforcement officers, two of whom held on to the side of his arms while he walked.

Judge Gull ruled that the gag order will continue, saying that defense and prosecution members can only speak with the media about procedural matters.

The overall order still prohibits those involved in the case from speaking about it publicly. She also reminded family, friends and witness not to talk with the media.

Judge Gull also heard arguments from the defense on a change in venue motion, if needed. She ruled that a jury be brought in from an outside county but said, “I think it is important to try here.”

She said the prosecution and defense have one week to agree on where the outside jury members will be selected.

CASE BACKGROUND: Indiana drugstore worker held in 2017 killings of teen girls

Allen’s defense attorneys filed the change of venue motion in November, asking for the trial to be moved at least 150 miles away from Carroll County due to the publicity. They claim that distance will “significantly reduce the likelihood of obtaining a tainted jury”.

While leaving the courtroom Allen’s defence say they are optimistic.

“These are difficult things to win,” Andrew Baldwin said. “We won one recently in a different county. So, it is not impossible, but the odds are stacked against you, the way the law is set up. But the state has certain burdens to meet, and we will see if they will be able to meet those burdens.”

21 Alive spoke with a local attorney who is not part of the case, but still showed up to court to follow along.

“This case is close to home Delphi is only 18 miles from Lafayette,” Earl McCoy said. “I’ve raised my family in Lafayette and I’m from Lafayette and I regularly practice in Carroll County this case hits close to home because when it happened, I had grandchildren near the same age as Abby and Libby, so I’ve paid attention to it from the beginning.”

The judge does not believe both sides will be ready to go to trial in March, so it’s likely the trial date will be delayed.

McCoy believes the trial date may be delayed by a year due to his 20 years of experience and the “thousands upon thousands” of documents that have been filed in the case.

Toward the end of the hearing the judge asked for the courtroom to be cleared so both sides could meet privately to discuss the case. The discussion surrounded public funding for investigators.

A hearing has been set for Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. to discuss Allen’s release on bail.

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