Feb. 9—DELPHI — Court officials now say the pretrial hearing that was to be held Monday in the Delphi murder case has been pushed back to next month.
That's amid a bustle of motions filed this week, many of which are now slated to be argued over during a 9 a.m. hearing March 18 inside Allen Superior Court 5 in Fort Wayne.
Richard Allen — the man accused of killing Delphi teenagers Libby German and Abby Williams in February 2017 — is expected to be at the hearing.
But over the past few days, and perhaps even weeks, the bigger story surrounding the case has dealt with Allen's legal team and Special Judge Fran Gull.
In October, Gull officially disqualified defense attorneys Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin for what she called "gross negligence" after evidence — specifically crime scene photos — was reportedly leaked to the public and members of the media.
That disqualification, Rozzi and Baldwin argued, went against the wishes of Allen, who wrote a letter to Gull and emphasized he wanted his counsel to remain on the case regardless of the leak.
Shortly after being disqualified, Rozzi and Baldwin took their pleas to the Indiana Supreme Court in hopes of being reinstated to the case.
Along with being reinstated, the attorneys also asked the Indiana Supreme Court to disqualify Gull from the case for what they called her "prejudice" and "personal bias."
On Jan. 18, the Indiana Supreme Court and its five justices heard Rozzi and Baldwin's arguments.
By that afternoon, those same five justices agreed with the attorneys, ultimately ruling the pair will be reinstated to represent Allen for the duration of the case.
Along with that decision, the Indiana Supreme Court also ruled Gull will continue to preside over the case, which is tentatively scheduled to go to trial in October.
A few days after the Indiana Supreme Court made their ruling, Rozzi and Baldwin once again called for Gull's disqualification.
"There is no recognizable legal rationale which supports Judge Gull continuing to preside over this case," their motion read in part. "At every stage, from now until the conclusion of this case, the actions and rulings of the court will be scrutinized through the lens of Judge Gull's error."
But there was a caveat to the defense's motion.
Gull was going to be the one to determine whether she would take herself off the case.
On Wednesday, Gull denied the defense's motion, citing the Indiana Supreme Court's decision to have her stay on board.
Rozzi and Baldwin also filed their own motions Wednesday, asking the court to completely dismiss the case due to what they claim was the prosecution and law enforcement destroying evidence.
The defense is essentially arguing that throughout the course of their discovery in the case, they have "unearthed significant evidence" that shows third party involvement in the girls' deaths, their motion states.
"That evidence is critical to the defense," they added.
That evidence reportedly came in the form of interviews and possible recordings.
But according to Rozzi and Baldwin, the state no longer has those interviews and recordings, which were reportedly recorded over "due to a DVR program error."
"The videotaped interviews were deleted by the police," Rozzi and Baldwin argued in their motion. "It is unknown what other interviews were deleted during the relevant time frames (Feb. 14, 2017-Feb. 20, 2017). The destruction of material interviews of key suspects, early in the investigation, demonstrates negligence, if not intentional conduct on the part of the state.
"How could law enforcement, while investigating the most serious of crimes, record over interviews of material suspects with recklessness or intentionality?" the attorneys added.
In a separate motion to dismiss filed Wednesday, the defense team went one step farther in their bid to have the case thrown out completely, stating that it is "beyond debatable" that the evidence no longer in possession of the prosecution would have ultimately helped Allen.
"Mr. Allen should not be deprived of remedy for the egregious loss of evidence occasioned by the actions of law enforcement and/or the prosecution in his case," the defense claimed, "especially in light of the ease with which the evidence could have been preserved. The only remedy that serves the interests of justice and guarantees Mr. Allen's constitutional rights is dismissal."
Wednesday will mark seven years since the deaths of German and Williams, whose bodies were located along the banks of Deer Creek near the Monon High Bridge area after being dropped off the day before but not returning to their pick-up location.
Five years later, on Oct. 31, 2022, investigators announced they had arrested Allen on two felony counts of murder.
The state has since moved for two additional counts of felony murder and two additional counts of kidnapping.
During an interview with police shortly after his arrest, Allen reportedly stated he was on the bridge the day the girls went missing, but he did not see them.