MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. — Kegan Kline has been sitting in the Miami County Jail since the summer of 2020, accused of at least 25 counts of child exploitation, child pornography and other charges that landed him in the crosshairs of investigators trying to solve the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German near the Monon High Bridge east of Delphi in 2017.
Kline allegedly communicated via social media with Libby the night before her death and on Thursday, the 28-year-old Peru man is set to plead guilty to more than two dozen counts lodged against him according to a motion filed by Deputy Prosecutor Courtney Alwine late last week.
Nowhere in the motion is there any indication of a reduction or dismissal of charges in consideration of the guilty pleas or a promise by Kline to help detectives and prosecutors in any future undetermined criminal investigations.
”It’s unusual for there to be a situation where a defendant suddenly decides to plead guilty, especially so soon before a trial, without getting some sort of a deal or some sort of an inducement, whether large or small, in order to persuade him to change his mind,” said Murder Sheet Podcast Co-Host Kevin Greenlee, a practicing attorney. “So it’s a little strange that there is no sign that Kegan Kline has gotten any sort of inducement to do this.”
Kline has never been charged for any role in the murders of which Delphi resident Richard Allen stands accused.
Kline’s apparent change of his not guilty plea comes one month after the state presented its witness list intentions to call not only investigators to the stand but also his family and friends to testify at Kline’s scheduled trial in May.
”The upside for Kegan Kline to plead guilty to avoid a trial would be, for one thing, all of the details and facts, some of which I’m sure he would find embarrassing, might not be revealed to the public,” said Greenlee. “Certainly when we saw the witness list in the trial come out a couple of weeks ago, it included the names of people who were quite close to him. It is entirely possible that Kegan Kline has spent some time thinking about what those people might say in open court and to the world.”
Greenlee said the advantage to the state to enter the plea agreement to all charges would be a reduced investment of preparation time and budget for the trial and the elimination of the uncertainty of a jury’s verdict.
The state also agreed to stop referring to Kline’s alleged victims as juveniles.
Murder Sheet Co-Host Aine Cain said a Kline guilty plea will make all but certain that some details of the state’s investigation will never be publicly known.
”One of the benefits to a trial is that there’s an opportunity for both sides to be heard, for evidence to be presented and for a lot of things that are murky to be clarified,” Cain said. “And if there is a guilty plea in this situation, we could lose that opportunity and so, really hearing an explanation and hearing what Kegan Kline has to say and what he’s going to do, this may be one of our last opportunities to really kind of get that public look at what is really going on with this.”
Cain said Kline’s anticipated guilty pleas, with no promise of cooperating in the Delphi case, may result in details of that investigation also being left unexplored.
”There is this sort of link between him and Delphi that’s not been fully explained or ruled out,” she said. “I think that’s the problem. I think that may even be something that the prosecution in the Richard Allen case has to contend with, basically saying, ‘Here’s why we’re sure it’s this guy and not these other guys that you heard about in the past, including but not limited to Kegan Kline.’ I think as far as his connection to Delphi goes, there are a lot of questions that remain and a lot of people will want answers about that.
“You would expect the prosecution, if there was some sort of a deal, to lay that out there and say, ‘We’re giving him this in exchange for that,’”, Cain continued. “And there’s nothing about that, which indicates that there is no deal which makes the fact that Kegan Kline is turning around and actually pleading guilty all the more interesting because what is motivating that at this point, I think that’s the central question.”
Twice last year Kline’s pre-trial hearings were delayed as his attorney argued that the defense and prosecution were involved in negotiations as Indiana State Police divers, working with Delphi investigators, searched the Wabash River in Kline’s hometown.
Kline has offered alternative versions of his accounts in response to questions both by investigators and a reporter.
”Kegan Kline has such an uncomfortable relationship with the truth that I will frankly be looking to see whether or not he actually pleads guilty as his lawyer indicates he will,” said Greenlee. “Kegan Kline has a tendency to make promises and say things and not live up to them.”