Delphi prosecutors slam defense’s theory that victims were ‘ritualistically sacrificed’


Photos show Libby German, Richard Allen, and Abby Williams.

Liberty “Libby” German, Richard Allen, and Abigail “Abby” Williams.

Indiana prosecutors in the high-profile Delphi murders case have responded to the theory put forth by the defendant’s attorneys alleging that the two young victims were targeted by a “pagan cult” and ritualistically sacrificed, calling the notion “colorful, dramatic, and highly unprofessional.”

In a 6-page motion opposing defendant Richard Allen’s request to have all pretrial and trial proceedings broadcasted, Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland told Special Judge Fran C. Gull that the state has “serious concerns” about the defense team’s “extrajudicial grandstanding” undermining the judicial process.

“Defense counsel continues to use inflammatory language in pleadings, including statements that are simply not true, and there is no reason to think they will not continue to use supercilious language in court, designed as soundbites for recording on the national stage, for example the language used by Defense describing ‘the conditions under which Mr. Allen has been forced to endure are akin to that of a prisoner of war,’” the motion states.

Prosecutors then cite last week’s defense filing, which claims that authorities investigating the murders of Abigail “Abby” Williams and Liberty “Libby” German withheld exculpatory evidence, lied about the investigation while under oath, and ignored evidence that the victims may have been “ritualistically sacrificed” by a white nationalist cult practicing a pagan Norse religion called “Odinism.”

In that motion, the defense requested a Franks hearing to determine whether authorities knowingly or recklessly lied to obtain the search warrant that ultimately led to Allen’s arrest last year. The purpose of the hearing would be to have the warrant — and all evidence collected against Allen as a result of the warrant — deemed inadmissible in court.

“The Defense has filed its 136-page Memorandum in Support of the Franks hearing in which only 13 pages refers to any allegations relevant to the question of a Franks inquiry,” prosecutors wrote. “The remaining 90% of the Memorandum outlines its fanciful defense for social media to devour.”

According to prosecutors, allowing the defense team to “grandstand on camera about the imagined bad motives of the State actors” and to attack the credibility of investigators do “nothing to increase public confidence in the system.”

“[A]llowing cameras in such a highly-publicized and sensationalized case runs the risk of creating a circus atmosphere both in person and online, where 15-second clips taken out of context can race around the world in seconds, giving an inaccurate impression of the actual evidence and conduct of court proceedings,” prosecutors wrote. “The state believes that having cameras in the courtroom will give participants in the courtroom a nationwide platform to further their own agenda to build their brand, promote whatever platform they want and generally showboat, instead of focus on presenting the evidence in a professional concise manner.”

In a separate motion opposing a Franks hearing, also filed this week, prosecutors specifically pushed back against the defense team’s allegation that the warrant executed on Allen’s home in October 2022 was obtained through intentional or reckless lying by law enforcement.

That document states that Carroll County Sheriff Tony Liggett unequivocally “did not intentionally or recklessly omit evidence or lie about evidence in the probable cause affidavit to support the search warrant.” In fact, prosecutors say that much of the critical evidence bolstering the case against Allen came from interviews with witnesses, including Allen himself, who they say confirmed he “was in fact on the trails the day the [the victims] went missing.”

Allen is facing two counts of murder in the twin 2017 slayings of 13-year-old Abby and 14-year-old Libby, whose bodies were discovered in a wooded area just off of the Delphi Historic Trails system.

Abby and Libby vanished while walking the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi, Indiana, on Feb. 13, 2017. The trail traverses an abandoned stretch of what was once the Monon Railroad and crosses an old trestle over a small river or creek. The girls were found dead the next day in an area near the trestle and their deaths were determined to be homicides.

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