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Prosecutor seeks kidnapping charges in case of missing Indiana teens

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The prosecutor in the case of an Indiana man charged in the killings of two teenage girls asked a judge Thursday to allow new two new counts each of kidnapping and murder while kidnapping.

Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said the amended charges against Richard Allen of Delphi “more accurately aligns the charging information with the cause’s discovery and probable cause affidavit.”

Allen was arrested in October 2022 and charged with two counts of murder in the 2017 slayings of 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German of Delphi. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Supreme Court, after hearing arguments in the case Thursday, ordered the reinstatement of Allen's original court-appointed attorneys, Andrew Baldwin and Brad Rozzi. Baldwin and Rossi had withdrawn from the case last October amid a leak of information from Baldwin's office by a friend of his.

A request to Baldwin, the lead defense attorney, for comment on McLeland's bid for new charges was denied because Special Judge Fran Gull has imposed a gag order in the case.

The Supreme Court, in its order, also denied a request to remove Gull as judge.

A relative of one of the teenagers — known as Abby and Libby — 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 didn’t show up at a meeting place 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 the 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.