INDIANAPOLIS — Two charges of murder have been filed against Richard Allen, but the details behind those charges are still under wraps.
The probable cause affidavit is still sealed, despite an arrest made and charges filed. Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McCleland said the investigation is ongoing.
FOX59 learned Wednesday morning, there will be a hearing on November 22 on the sealing of the record for Richard Allen. Pursuant to APRA, notices must be posted 20 days prior to the stated meeting.
”For that reason, and for the nature of this case, the probable cause and the charging information has been sealed by the court,” McCleland said during the Monday press conference.
Indianapolis attorney and former deputy prosecutor Ralph Staples said this is very rare.
”Honestly I’ve never seen this before where you’ve got somebody in custody and the documents still remain sealed,” Staples said.
He said the decision to keep these documents sealed comes down to the judge.
”The public’s right to know is sometimes trumped by law enforcement’s need to maintain some secrecy,” Staples said.
In this case, the man who made the decision is Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Diener, according to the Carroll County Prosecutor’s Office. He ordered the probable cause affidavit sealed.
Staples said a decision like this points to erring on the side of caution.
”You’ve got two dead kids in a very tragic situation, nobody wants to screw this up,” Staples said. “Not the police, not the prosecutors, not a judge.”
As for what reason could have been given to the judge to keep the docs sealed, both Staples and former FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said investigators could still be trying to make more arrests.
”If there are other suspects in there you want to have a chance to go after them as well,” Keenan said.
Keenan now works at a security consulting firm called PHaKtor.
He said letting too much out to the public could damage this investigation.
“If you put that out into the public domain and there are still other suspects out there and they have a piece of that evidence they may try to destroy that evidence or they may even try to flee the jurisdiction,” Keenan said.
The charging information for Allen is also still sealed. We know Allen faces two counts of murder in the deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German, but Staples said there are more specifics to find out. He said Allen could be charged with intentional killing or felony murder.
”If I am charged with intentional killing that means I did it,” Staples said, “I fired the shot, I strangled, I stabbed, I did whatever. If I’m charged with felony murder that means someone died while someone may have been committing a felony.”
As for if those documents become unsealed before the trial, Keenan said that is ultimately up to the judge. Staples said it’s unclear if that would happen.
”You just don’t know, this is truly uncharted waters,” Staples said. “This is not something I have dealt with as a prosecutor or a defense attorney.”
But, the public might not be the only ones in the dark. Staples said it’s possible Richard Allen has not seen the probable cause documents either.
“Unless he has seen it, unless his counsel has seen it, they have no idea,” Staples said.
FOX59 is working to get access to the documents filed in this case. We’re filing a public records request with Judge Diener, who sealed the affidavit.