Prosecutor says theory that 2 slain Indiana teens died in ritual sacrifice is made for social media

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — The prosecutor overseeing the case against a northern Indiana man charged in the 2017 killings of two teenage girls has dismissed as “fanciful” a recent court filing by the man’s attorneys contending the girls actually died as part of a ritual sacrifice.

Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland called the theory a “fanciful defense for social media to devour” in a document filed Monday, a week after Richard Allen’s attorneys said in a filing that Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, were killed by members of a pagan Norse religion and white nationalist group known as Odinists.

Allen’s attorneys wrote that “absolutely nothing, links Richard Allen to Odinism or any religious cult.”

Their filing seeks a hearing at which they would argue for suppressing evidence collected at Allen’s Delphi home. It says that law enforcement lied or omitted information to obtain a warrant to search his house, the Journal & Courier reported.

In his response opposing Allen’s attorneys’ separate request to have their client’s hearings and trial broadcast, the prosecutor wrote that only 13 pages of the defense’s 136-page filing seeking the evidence hearing makes any relevant allegations.

“The remaining 90% of the Memorandum outlines its fanciful defense for social media to devour,” McLeland wrote.

McLeland also filed a reply to the attorneys’ request for a hearing to suppress evidence, writing that Carroll County Sheriff Tony Liggett “did not intentionally or recklessly omit evidence or lie about evidence in the probable cause affidavit to support the search warrant.”

McLeland added that when investigators obtained the search warrant in October 2022 they believed there was a chance Allen “would destroy crucial evidence in the investigation” if he knew he was suspected in the killings.

A redacted probable cause affidavit released in November 2022 states that during their search of Allen’s home investigators seized a .40-caliber pistol belonging to him which Allen bought in 2001. The affidavit states that an unspent bullet found near the slain girls’ bodies “had been cycled through” Allen’s pistol.

Allen was arrested in October 2022 and charged with two counts of murder in the teens’ killings. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled for January.

According to court documents released in June, Allen confessed multiple times to the murders in a phone call to his wife while in prison.

Those documents had been under seal since December 2022, when a judge issued a gag order barring attorneys, law enforcement officials, court personnel, the coroner and family members from commenting on the case.

Liberty and Abigail — known as Libby and Abby — were killed after a relative dropped them off at a hiking trail near the Monon High Bridge on Feb. 13, 2017, just outside their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.

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 lived and worked at a drug store.