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Court document in Delphi double homicide remains sealed

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Richard Allen escorted into court on Tuesday (WLFI)

Richard Allen escorted into court on Tuesday (WLFI)

DELPHI, Ind. (WLFI) — Chaos surrounded the Carroll County Courthouse on Tuesday morning, with cameras posted on every corner and a line outside the front door to sit in on Richard Allen's court hearing.

Allen is a suspect in the high profile Delphi double homicides. But details remain sparse after prosecutors pushed — in what they admit is an unusual and unprecedented move — to seal a court document with information about the probable cause for his arrest.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed the potential release of the document during a Tuesday hearing, in which deputies escorted Allen into the courthouse in a yellow jumpsuit and bulletproof vest.

It's the first time members of the media have seen him in person since his arrest late last month. That's more than five years after the killings of teenagers Liberty German and Abigail Williams.

German's grandfather Mike Patty fixed his gaze on Allen during the court hearing.

Prosecutor Nick McCleland argued unsealing the probable cause affidavit would jeopardize the investigation. McLeland believes Allen isn't the only suspect.

He pointed to the family's wishes and an online petition with over 40,000 signatures to keep details under wraps.

Allen's defense attorney, Bradley Rozzi, contended the investigation is shrouded in secrecy and said, "The public needs the truth."

He accused prosecutors of "talking out of both sides of their mouth" by holding public press conferences to release composite suspect sketches, then pushing to conceal information public court documents.

Special Judge Fran Gull took arguments under advisement and said she would issue a written ruling "in due haste."

As we've reported, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed Gull to the case after Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Brian Diener recused himself. 

If the document is unsealed, McLeland urged Gull to release a redacted version to protect witnesses, many of whom are minors, from harassment.

The Indiana Broadcasters Association is also pushing for the release of records. Margaret Christensen is an attorney representing the group.

"I won't be at all surprised if they release, at least, the redacted records that the prosecutor's proposing," Christensen says. "That would at least give the public an idea, What are the allegations? What are the facts supporting murder charges? Very serious charges."

Allen's next court hearing is set for 10 a.m. Feb. 17. That's when both sides will discuss a defense motion to release on Allen on bail.

Allen's other defense attorney, Andrew Baldwin, argues in the motion that "neither the proof of guilt is evident, nor the presumption of guilt is strong" in the sealed probable cause affidavit.

McLeland filed a motion Tuesday morning asking the judge to prohibit anyone involved in the case, including family members, from speaking with media. Gull has yet to issue a ruling on the motion.

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