Legal Expert Tells Us Why The Delphi Murder Arrest Announcement Was So Ambiguous

On Monday, October 31, 2022, the Indiana State Police and Carroll County authorities held a press conference to announce they'd finally arrested someone for the nearly six-year-old murders of two Delhi, Indiana, teens. For days there had been rabid speculation and leaked information to local television stations that a suspect in the murders, Richard M. Allen, 50, had been arrested, but law enforcement remained mum on this case, per Law & Crime

But the press conference did little to clear up how Indiana authorities had tied Allen to the February 13, 2017, disappearance and killings of 13-year-old Abigail "Abby" Williams and her 14-year-old friend Liberty "Libby" German, 14, especially in light of the case remaining open for so long. Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland refused to say when Allen became a suspect or even if Allen knew the two teens, according to ABC News. Grunge spoke with Jamie White, a criminal defense attorney from White Law PLLC, based in Michigan, on why authorities are playing this so close to the vest.

Why investigators are holding back details of Richard Allen's arrest 

Criminal defense attorney Jamie White of White Law PLLC tells Grunge he feels the prosecutors and law enforcement are afraid that revealing too much information too soon could derail their continued pursuit of evidence in the case. "I believe investigators are being extraordinarily cautious to avoid contaminating the public sphere with information that could interfere with a presumed ongoing investigation," he said.

The authorities have had the court step in and seal Allen's arrest documents, including the probable cause report, which is typically publicly available and describes the evidence tying a suspect to a crime. At the news conference, Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said that "per the court order, we cannot talk about the evidence that's in the probable cause" report, according to WXIN-TV. At the same conference, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said that they would not jeopardize the integrity of the investigation by "releasing or discussing documents or information before the appropriate time." He was not specific about when that time would be.

An investigation built with the public's help

What investigators have revealed about the Delphi murders and the arrest of Richard Allen is that the public had played an instrumental part in its outcome. The police received more than 70,000 tips since 2017, according to ABC News. "The eyes of America were on this," ISP Superintendent Doug Carter told the news outlet. During the press conference, Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby thanked the public for the tips they provided in the case. Attorney Jamie White believes this was another reason the authorities have been so reticent to release information. 

"It appears from the press conference the public was instrumental in the arrest," White told Grunge. "Getting the suspect off the streets was priority one, but it is likely the information provided by members of the public is still being processed. Therefore, releasing details of the investigation serves no good purpose at this point in time." There will be a public court hearing soon to determine when the probable cause report could be unsealed, per WXIN-TV. This would at least provide a little background on how police zeroed in on Allen as the alleged killer. But again, there was no timeline on when this would happen.

What we know about the Delphi Murders suspect 

When police found the bodies of Abby Williams and Libby German on February 14, 2017 — Valentine's Day — the teens' bodies had lost a lot of blood and had been staged, according to Law & Crime. They'd gone for a hike on the Monon High Bridge Trail the previous afternoon when they went missing. If the murders were not shocking enough to the small, close-knit community of Delphi, that the alleged killer had been living among them the entire time was doubly so. "How can somebody do that and then just go on living life like nothing happened?" Libby German's grandfather, Mike Patty, told ABC News.

Richard Allen, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and is being held without bond, lived near where investigators found the teens' bodies, and worked as a pharmacy technician at CVS, per Newsweek. He had been living in Delphi since at least 2006. It seems the Indiana State Police suspected the murderer was a local. "To the killer, who may be in this room: We believe you are hiding in plain sight," ISP Superintendent Doug Carter said during a news conference in 2019, per the Indy Star. Allen will be back in court in January.