CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. – Heavily shackled and accompanied by officers, Delphi murder suspect Richard Allen arrived for a pair of hearings in connection with the case.

Before the hearing began, officers swept the defense table to make sure it was safe. Two women were taken to the front of the courtroom; Allen mouthed “I love you” to them. He wore a yellow jumpsuit and protective vest.

Allen is charged with murder in the February 2017 deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German. The two teens disappeared on the Delphi Historic Trails; their bodies were found on Feb. 14, 2017. The case went unsolved for more than five years; Indiana State Police announced Allen’s arrest in October 2022.

The hearing was delayed until 10:26 a.m. It lasted only about ten minutes, wrapping up by about 10:36 a.m. Defense attorneys and prosecutors spent several minutes talking to Judge Fran Gull in her chambers before the proceedings began.

Gull expressed skepticism that Allen’s trial would be on track for March 23, citing the “extraordinary, voluminous evidence” in the case that must be turned over to the defense.

The judge also said she couldn’t see how the trial could involve Carroll County jurors. It would be “difficult if not impossible” to find jurors in Carroll County who have not been involved in the case in some capacity.

At the same time, she couldn’t see a way for the trial to be held outside of Carroll County, given the convenience of the witnesses. She said the costs to move the trial to another county would be “extraordinary.”

The solution will involve bringing in jurors from an outside county. The defense and prosecution have a week to agree on a suitable county from which jurors could be bused into Carroll County and sequestered during the trial.

The gag order will remain in effect, although attorneys from both sides can talk about procedural issues and the bail hearing set for Feb. 17. They are not to discuss the facts of the case.

Gull said she’ll hear arguments during the bail hearing on whether the trial can proceed as scheduled on March 23, although there are “thousands upon thousands” of pages of discovery for the state to turn over to Allen’s defense lawyers.

Gull also noted that the state has been “diligent” in turning over material to Allen’s lawyers.

After the hearing, defense lawyers met with Gull in her chambers. They came back to the courtroom for a hearing on public funding for investigators. Those proceedings were closed to the public.