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Delphi murders case trial to stay in Carroll County; judge gives legal teams 1 week to agree on county to select jury

Judge Frances Gull said that it would be "difficult if not impossible" to find a jury in Carroll County. Both the prosecution and defense agreed.

DELPHI, Ind. — The man accused of killing Libby German and Abby Williams was back in court Friday.

During the hearing at the Carroll County Courthouse, attended in-person by Richard Allen, Judge Frances Gull gave the prosecutor and defense one week to agree on a county where they will select a jury and bring that jury to Carroll County.

"I think it is important to try here," Gull said on the location for the trial.

Gull said that it would be "difficult if not impossible" to find a jury in Carroll County. Both the prosecution and defense agreed.

Trial dates will be further discussed at a February hearing. Regarding the trial taking place in May, Gull said, "I can't see that happening."

The gag order issued in the case will essentially continue in its current form, Gull said. Lawyers, police and family members can't talk about the case publicly. Legal teams are only allowed to speak with the media about procedural items.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17.

Friday's hearing started at 10:30 a.m. and lasted less than 10 minutes.

Gull had previously issued a temporary gag order in the case, meaning lawyers, police and family members can't talk about the case publicly. 

In a change of venue motion, filed in November, Allen's attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Brad Rozzi cited "the extensive media attention" of the case and stated that it "could be argued that the amount of publicity that this particular case has received in the past five-plus years will make it difficult to find a jury that has not heard of this case."

Allen's attorneys wanted the trial moved at least 150 miles away from Carroll County because of publicity. They said they have statistical data "that would strongly indicate that moving the case/trial just 150 miles away would significantly reduce the likelihood of obtaining a tainted jury pool." 

His attorneys were asked outside the courtroom Friday about the difficulty of finding an unbiased jury from another county.

"We're gonna proceed, it's gonna carry out in this county. I think it's a logical conclusion and a lot of that is just trying to deal with all the moving parts and not have to cause burden on other people. Of course the most important thing here is that we get a venire – a jury pool that we can be assured is fair, not prejudiced and unbiased," Rozzi said.  

The defense also had a hearing Friday on getting money to pay for investigators. They are waiting on the judge's ruling. 

Allen's attorneys also want lots of information and evidence that prosecutors are preparing for their case.

There are 29 different requests, including names and addresses of witnesses — anyone who police questioned in the February 2017 murders. Plus, they're asking for phone calls, photos, documents or video tapes the prosecution might use and police personnel files and cell phone tower data. 

Allen's attorneys were also asked about how their client is handling everything.

"He misses his wife. He misses human connection with people. So, it's been difficult for him," Baldwin said.

Allen's attorneys said they are confident they can win his bond hearing on Feb. 17.

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