The Carroll Circuit Court in Delphi was the epicenter of tension during the latest hearing for accused killer Richard Allen. Scheduled to introduce Allen to his new defense team and establish a trial date, the courtroom instead experienced an unexpected dramatic confrontation with the previous defense.
Minutes before the hearing’s commencement, defense attorneys Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin made an unforeseen entrance, instantly reclaiming their positions despite prior disagreements with Judge Gull. Among the audience were law enforcement, media, and the grieving families of Abby Williams and Libby German, who Allen is accused of murdering in 2017 near the Monon High Bridge.
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland immediately withdrew from the courtroom, only to reappear and talk with a nearby sheriff’s deputy. Attorney David Hennessy, representative for the original defense team, was also present, occasionally conferring with Baldwin and Rozzi.
The courtroom’s tension escalated with the entry of the replacement defense co-counsels, Robert Scremin and William Lebrato. Minutes later, Judge Gull officially commenced the hearing, soon followed by Allen’s entry. The defendant, more robust and engaged than his last appearance, silently took his place.
Judge Gull and the defense attorneys engaged in a charged exchange. Rozzi and Baldwin, anticipated to be removed from the case, had proactively filed Notices of Appearance on Monday, signaling their intent to represent Allen without charge. The attorneys’ move was directly against Judge Gull’s prior insistence on their withdrawal, based on accusations of “gross negligence”.
Today’s exchange had Rozzi defending their actions as “strategic” for safeguarding Allen’s rights. He insisted that the new public defenders yield to the original defense. Judge Gull remained firm on her previous stance, challenging Rozzi and Baldwin’s return.
Prosecutor McLeland emphasized the original team’s supposed “gross negligence”, referencing alleged mishandlings, including evidence leaks and publicizing misleading defense arguments. His strong assertion was that the original defense team was more focused on media representation than legal procedure.
Judge Gull directly addressed Allen about the courtroom controversy, explaining her concerns. Regardless of Allen’s desires, Judge Gull insisted that Lobrato and Scremin would be his new representatives. She then postponed the trial, previously scheduled for January 8, 2024, and established a new trial date on October 15, 2024.
The hearing spotlight then shifted to Hennessy. He fervently defended the original defense team, challenging the judge’s swift dismissals without proper hearing, and labeling their defense strategies as “zealous” and “good lawyering”. The judge, however, remained undeterred by the arguments, emphasizing the central issue: the attorneys’ dismissal, not their defense strategy.
FOX59/CBS4 has initiated an Open Records Act request, aiming to access audio recordings of the private discussions that culminated in the defense team’s dismissal.
Outside the courtroom, the sole individual to address the media was Baldwin, emphasizing the importance of responsible journalism, presumably urging further investigation into Judge Gull’s decisions.
In a developing twist, a group of unaffiliated attorneys have submitted a Writ of Mandamus to the Indiana Supreme Court, requesting a review of Judge Gull’s conduct, especially concerning public document access. All involved parties are expected to submit briefings by November 9.