DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — Attorneys for an Indiana man accused of killing two teenage girls six years ago argued before a judge Thursday that the man has been mistreated at the prison he is housed in, requesting relocation to a different facility.
A prosecutor in the case also said the man confessed multiple times to the murders while incarcerated, something his defense attorneys attributed to his declining mental state.
Richard Matthew Allen was arrested October 2022 on two counts of murder in the killings of Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, whose bodies were found Feb. 15, 2017, outside their hometown of Delphi, Indiana, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis, in Carroll County. A relative had dropped the girls off at a hiking trail near the Monon High Bridge, and their bodies were found the next day, Feb. 14, 2017, in a rugged, heavily wooded area near the trail.
Attorney Brad Rozzi said Thursday that since Allen’s incarceration in Westville Correctional Facility in Westville, Indiana, Allen has been treated more stringently than other inmates, including in surveillance and restraint measures. Allen’s lawyers filed the emergency motion in April, citing in court filings a “dramatic change in Mr. Allen’s condition, including his change in demeanor, change in appearance and change in his overall mental status.” They said his “incriminating” statements were the result of this stressful environment.
Law enforcement officers, as well as the warden of the correctional facility, however, testified Allen’s treatment was no different than other inmates. Allen has been in the Indiana Department of Correction facility since November 2022.
Such decisions about Allen’s living situation were made to protect his safety, officers said, as they believe he could be a target of other inmates because the case involves children. Moving him to a new local facility could endanger him, as well as put additional burdens on staff, said Carroll County Sheriff Tony Liggett.
Attorneys for Allen have suggested Cass County, north of Carroll County by about 22 miles (35 kilometers), which is a shorter drive for them, Rozzi said.
“To the extent that it’s convenient for me, it’s convenient for him,” Rozzi said Thursday.
Allen County Judge Fran Gull, who was assigned to the case after the original judge recused himself, did not immediately decide on the motion.
Max Baker, an intern on the case, testified Thursday that he had met Allen four times in meetings at the correctional facility. In those meetings, Allen was increasingly “anxious” and had difficulty maintaining a “rational exchange,” often repeating himself in their conversations. Though he met Allen once in December 2022 and three times last month, Baker said he had to reintroduce himself to Allen every time.
Carroll County prosecutor Nicholas McLeland doubted whether changing facilities would benefit Allen, questioning whether it would be “any different,” as officials testified such steps could still be taken to ensure Allen’s security.
“This is about convenience for Mr. Rozzi,” he added.
Gull and the attorneys also set tentative trial dates for early January 2024. A jury for that trial will be selected from Allen County and conducted in Carroll County.
Arleigh Rodgers is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Follow Arleigh Rodgers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arleighrodgers
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