INDIANAPOLIS — More questions than answers has always been a feature of the Delphi investigation, and this latest phase of the case is no different.
It has nearly been a month since Richard Allen was first arrested in connection to the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German in Delphi in 2017, but still, the probable cause affidavit for the arrest has not been released.
”For this country, for a prosecutor to come forward and say we need to keep secrets from the public is a very dangerous precedent,” said John Tompkins an Indianapolis lawyer at Tompkins Law. Tompkins is not affiliated with the Delphi case.
Tompkins said announcing an arrest, keeping the court docs sealed and then continuing to fight in court for the docs to remain under wraps is a bad idea.
”I’ll be clear, It is extraordinarily bad policy to have secret things going on in a public court system,” Tompkins said. “There are redactions that can be offered, there are restrictions, there are abbreviated probable cause affidavits, there are vague probable cause affidavits.”
With a continued wait for the public to see the reasoning behind an arrest, Tompkins can see why some would start to question the prosecution.
”The only thing you can say is, ‘Why can’t I see the proof, why won’t you give me what I need to reinforce what you’re telling me,'” Tompkins said. “And so as that wears on, the only thing you can do is begin to question.”
As of right now, the next time Richard Allen will be in court is February 17 for a bail hearing – almost four months since Allen was arrested.
Tompkins said this long of a period is unusual for a bail review but it makes sense with how long the investigation has taken.
”There is probably going to be a fairly significant presentation of evidence and both sides need to prepare,” Tompkins said.
Past that hearing, Tompkins said people shouldn’t expect this to be a quick process, and shouldn’t want it to be one either.
”Ask yourself, do you want a weak conviction that eventually gets overturned because we just rushed through it or do we want to get the defense as much time as we gave the state, if they need it, if they can justify it,” Tompkins said.
One development that could complicate the case even more is more people being involved in the murders, and more people being arrested.
In court Tuesday, Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland said there is reason to believe there could have been multiple people involved.
The more moving parts, the more complex the operation,” Tompkins said.
But, Tompkins said there can be multiple probable cause documents for each defendant and those docs can just contain information about each specific defendant.
”They can put in a probable cause affidavit for Mr. Allen, just the information that relates to Mr. Allen,” Tompkins said. “And then at a later time, if there is another arrest, make a totally separate charging information that deals with that other defendant’s arrest.”
Judge Fran Gull said she would take several items under advisement, including a redacted version of the PC, and decide at a later date whether or not to release it.