Graphic photos of the scene where teenage best friends Libby German and Abby Williams were found brutally murdered in February 2017 have been circulating among members of a social media community, The Murder Sheet podcast revealed this week.
In a bombshell twist, it emerged that the leak allegedly originated from a man close to the defence team representing Mr Allen – the 51-year-old local man now charged with the murders.
Now, Mr Allen’s attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi have withdrawn from the case – throwing the trial into disarray.
A brief court hearing was held in Allen County, Indiana, on Thursday, where Special Judge Fran Gull was set to preside over several matters including the leak of the images.
Within minutes of the hearing starting, the judge said that Mr Allen’s attorneys had both withdrawn from the case, leaving the accused killer without legal representation.
“We’ve had an unexpected turn of events, ladies and gentlemen,” said Judge Gull.
“Earlier this afternoon, the defence attorneys have withdrawn their representation of Mr Allen.”
Mr Baldwin made an oral motion to withdraw from the case, while Mr Rozzi will be submitting a written motion to withdraw.
The scheduled trial date of 8 January 2024 will now almost certainly be delayed, as the married father-of-two will need to be assigned a new set of public defenders to represent him.
It marks the latest twist in the tragic case which began in 2017 when Libby German and Abby Williams were found brutally murdered on a walk along the Monon High Bridge in their hometown of Delphi, Indiana.
In October 2022 – over five years later – Mr Allen was arrested and charged with their murders.
Richard Allen to appear in court today
Delphi murders suspect Richard Allen is set to appear in court today for a status hearing.
The hearing, which was scheduled just last week, is set to begin at 2pm local time at the Allen County Courthouse in Indiana.
As for the purpose of the hearing, Judge Fran Gull vaguely said it was “to discuss the upcoming hearing on October 31, 2023, and other matters which have recently arisen”.
Rumours have swirled that those “other matters” will include an alleged leak of photos from the crime scene where Abby Williams and Libby German were murdered in February 2017.
An investigation into the leak was launched last week, just before the status hearing was set.
Follow along for live coverage by The Independent.
Crime scene photo leak threatens to derail Richard Allen case
Earlier this week, The Independent reported that a leak of crime scene photos from the Delphi murders case could threaten to derail accused killer Richard Allen’s trial.
Graphic photos of the scene where teenage best friends Libby German and Abby Williams were killed have been circulating among members of a social media community following Mr Allen’s arrest, according to The Murder Sheet podcast.
It has emerged that the leak allegedly originated from a man close to the defence team representing Mr Allen.
Investigators in Indiana are now probing how this sensitive evidence came to be released ahead of a newly-planned court hearing scheduled to take place on Thursday.
Read more about the leak from Rachel Sharp:
‘The Murder Sheet’ podcasters – journalist Áine Cain and attorney Kevin Greenlee – speak to Rachel Sharp about the ‘catastrophic’ leak and its potential impact on the case
Cameras allowed in court for the first time
Broadcast cameras will be allowed to capture today’s status hearing, marking the first time throughout the case against Richard Allen that we’ve gotten a live view inside the court.
Judge Fran Gull’s decision to allow cameras in her Allen County courtroom likely received a positive response from Mr Allen and his defence team, which had filed in support of the request.
Prosecutors, however, are sure to be less pleased. They had expressed “serious concerns” about broadcasting the proceedings given the massive national attention on the case - which they say has led to critical information leaks online.
The murders of Libby German and Abby Williams
The spine-chilling murder case began on 13 February 2017 when Libby German and Abby Williams set off on a walk along the Monon High Bridge in their hometown of Delphi.
During the walk, Libby posted a photo of her best friend on Snapchat as they walked on the bridge.
Minutes later, Libby captured a video of a man – known as “bridge guy” – dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a cap walking along the abandoned railroad bridge.
In the footage – found on Libby’s phone following their murders – the man tells the two girls: “Guys, down the hill.”
Later that day, the teenagers were reported missing when they failed to return to a spot where a family member was picking them up.
The next day – Valentine’s Day 2017 – their bodies were discovered in a wooded area less than half a mile off the trail along the side of Deer Creek.
In October 2022 – over five years later – Richard Allen was arrested and charged with their murders.
He is set to face trial in January 2024.
WATCH: Cameras will be in courtroom for Delphi murder case hearing
Delphi murders: What we know about suspect Richard Allen
More than five years on from when teenage best friends Libby German and Abby Williams were last seen alive, a 50-year-old local married man was arrested and charged in connection with the 2017 Delphi murders.
Richard Matthew Allen, from Delphi, Indiana, was taken into custody 26 October and booked into Carroll County Jail on two counts of murder. He was then moved to a state facility, reportedly for his own safety.
Mr Allen’s arrest marked a bombshell development in the high-profile case that has rocked the small, close-knit community of Delphi and had gone unsolved for more than half a decade.
The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Here’s what we know about the suspect in the infamous case:
Richard Allen is a married 50-year-old man who worked in the local CVS store in the heart of Delphi – where Libby German and Abby Williams lived with their families
What happened to Libby and Abby?
Libby German and Abby Williams went missing on 13 February 2017 after they set off on a hike along the Monon High Bridge Trail in Delphi, Indiana.
During the walk, Libby had posted photos on Snapchat of her and Abby along the trail.
The happy image of the two best friends is believed to be the last photo of them before they died.
Their bodies were discovered the next day in a wooded area around half a mile off the trail.
In a move that propelled the investigation forward, Libby also captured a grainy video on her phone of a man dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a cap walking along the abandoned railroad bridge.
Investigators released a grainy image from the video and a chilling audio of the man telling the two girls: “Go down the hill.”
Investigators have long suspected that this man is the girls’ killer and have praised the girls for documenting the video as evidence.
A .40 calibre round, ‘creepy’ man and Snapchat video: How police pinned the Delphi murders on Richard Allen
A single .40 calibre bullet discovered near the bodies of Libby German and Abby Williams turned out to be the smoking gun that initially led police to charge 50-year-old CVS worker Richard Allen with their murders in October.
The criminal affidavit, which was partly-redacted and released in November, revealed for the first time that the local man was finally tied to the murders through ballistics on a bullet found at the bloody crime scene.
Here, The Independent explains key details revealed in the criminal affidavit outlining the case against Mr Allen:
Richard Allen had been on the police radar for the murders of Libby German and Abby Williams since 2017 but walked free for more than five years until key evidence led to his arrest. Bevan Hurley and Rachel Sharp write
How did the crime scene photo leak unfold
Back in early October, a photo had circulated on social media showing a tree with what was claimed to be markings etched with Libby’s blood. These photos have not been verified.
The Murder Sheet podcasters – journalist Áine Cain and attorney Kevin Greenlee – told The Independent that days later, on the morning of 5 October, a source sent them a “number of graphic crime scene pictures and other images that are part of the discovery in the case”.
“We were very disturbed by what we saw,” said Ms Cain.
“The discovery is under a protective order by the court so that it can’t be leaked or disseminated in any way. So it’s not only disturbing to see these images but it’s disturbing in terms of what it means for the case.”
Not knowing where the leak originated from, they said that they contacted both Mr Allen’s attorneys and law enforcement to report the leak.
After that, they learned that the photos had been shared with the source by an individual allegedly connected to Mr Allen’s attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi.
The man was a close friend of Mr Baldwin and previously worked as an employee at his law firm, the podcasters said.
However, he had never worked on the Delphi case and left the firm years ago.
The individual died by suicide last week after a police investigation into the leak was launched.
Could crime scene evidence leak derail the case?
A leak of crime scene photos from the Delphi murders case could threaten to derail the trial of accused killer Richard Allen.
Graphic photos of the scene where teenage best friends Libby German and Abby Williams were found brutally murdered in February 2017 have been circulating among members of a social media community, according to The Murder Sheet podcast.
In a bombshell twist, it has emerged that the leak allegedly originated from a man close to the defence team representing Mr Allen – the 51-year-old local man now charged with the murders.
If the court finds that Mr Allen’s legal team is behind the leak, the attorneys could be dismissed and a new legal team would need to be appointed to represent him.
This would inevitably lead to his trial being delayed from its start date of 8 January 2024 – and once again delay any possible semblance of justice or closure for the families of Libby and Abby.