Judge delays murder trial for Indiana man charged in 2017 slayings of 2 teenage girls

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday delayed until October the murder trial of an Indiana man charged in the killings of two teenage girls after the man's attorneys expressed concerns they would not have adequate time to present their case.

Richard Allen’s trial was set to begin next week with jury selection in Allen County for a May 13 to May 31 trial in Carroll County. Special Judge Frances Gull set the new trial date on Tuesday for Oct. 14 through Nov. 15.

The latest change in Allen's scheduled trial came after Gull in March moved his trial, which had previously been set for October, to May after Allen's attorneys sought a sooner trial date.

However, Allen’s attorneys have since claimed they have not had enough time to prepare their case and said the court had not granted them enough time to present their case during the trial itself.

Allen, 51, who had worked and lived in the Delphi area, was arrested in October 2022 and charged in the 2017 slayings of 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German. He’s pleaded not guilty to murder charges. In March, Gull approved two additional murder charges against Allen.

A relative of one of the teenagers dropped them off on Feb. 13, 2017, at a hiking trail near their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis. They were reported missing that evening after they failed to show up at a location where they had arranged to be picked up. Their bodies were found the next day in a rugged, heavily wooded area near the trail.

The killings have haunted Delphi, a city of about 3,000 where Allen worked at a drugstore, and the case has been closely watched in the state and nationwide.

Gull issued a gag order in December 2022 barring attorneys, law enforcement officials, court personnel, the coroner and the girls’ family members from commenting on the case to the public or the media in any form, including social media.

Prosecutors had sought the order, citing intense public scrutiny and media attention. Gull was brought in as a special judge to oversee the case after a Carroll County judge recused himself.