Does Delphi probable cause rule out conspiracy?

According to information contained in the probable cause affidavit released Tuesday, it seems likely accused Delphi killer Richard M. Allen intended to commit murder when he went to the Monon High Bridge on February 13, 2017.  If he parked his car at a place and in a manner that would make it difficult to conclusively identify, if he carried a gun and dressed in a manner that disguised his appearance, as seems to be the case, then he almost certainly went to the bridge intending to kill.  He wasn’t just standing on the bridge staring at the fish when the urge to murder came over him.  Moreover, if the probable cause affidavit is accurate, then he displayed little interest in other females who were on the trails that day.  Of course, it could just be that his plan was to wait and see if any females crossed the bridge.  Maybe that was the necessary precondition to set his plan into motion.  Additionally, it seems likely that he intended to carry out the assault in the area of the bridge.  Why wait until his victims crossed the bridge to try to force them at gunpoint through the woods, across the creek, out to the road and back to his car?  If Richard M. Allen is the killer, which a fair amount of compelling evidence would seem to suggest, then he knew he was going to kill before he went there, and he may have even known who his victims would be.

If the evidence contained in the probable cause affidavit is correct, then Richard M. Allen spent a great deal of time at the scene of the crime.  By his own admission, he did not leave the bridge area until 3:30 p.m.  Also, a witness saw a man walking along County Road 300 North “at approximately 3:57 p.m.” wearing “muddy and bloody” clothes matching the description of the clothes Richard M. Allen admits to wearing.  This means he probably spent a better part of an hour at the crime scene.  If true, this detail would be consistent with statements made by former Carroll County Prosecutor Robert Ives who described the crime scene as “odd” and noted the presence of at least three “signatures.”  “It was not your normal ‘a person was killed here’ crime scene, that’s probably all I can say about it,” Ives said.  These details would appear to indicate that Allen was engaging in behavior that went beyond the act of murder.  Indeed, the Ron Logan search warrant makes reference to staging the scene.  According to WISH-TV, “The document says authorities also found that two articles of clothing from one of the girls ‘…was missing from the crime scene while the rest of their clothing was recovered. It also appeared the girls’ bodies were moved and staged….Based upon my training and experience it is common for perpetrators of this type of crime to take a ‘souvenir’ or, in some fashion, memorialize the crime scene.’”

Clearly, the perpetrator of this crime had a plan, something he had fantasized about for some time.  Richard M. Allen’s purported behavior at the bridge that day appears consistent with someone who had bloody intentions and could very likely have had a clear target in mind.  But why that time, that place and those two innocent children of Delphi.  Could an overweight, balding, boastful, depraved exploiter of young girls have tipped off Richard Allen, or an anonymous profile that turned out to be Allen?  As Alice of The Prosecutors podcast recently theorized, “Kegan could have just been bragging because he’s stupid…It could potentially be, taking it out of the coincidence world, out of the crazy conspiracy world, where they’re all working together behind the scenes, Kegan could have just been stupid and posted a snapshot of his conversation and been like, ‘I got two girls coming to meet me.’  He was never going to go because he is a sad guy who never carries out what he’s going to do.  But someone saw that and was like, ‘That’s an opportunity.  I’m gonna do this.’” 

While it’s definitely within the realm of possibility that Kline’s messaging with Libby, the Marathon Gas Station search, the waiting in a red vehicle admission and the Wabash River search were all just coincidences and lies, Alice’s theory seems entirely reasonable as a possible explanation of these connections.  However, I wouldn’t be too quick to rule out the possibility of “they’re all working together behind the scenes.”  While there may not have been a highly coordinated diabolical plan in operation here, as I’ve written about in previous blog posts, some level of communication or possible coordination is not without precedent in this part of Indiana. 

A June 17, 2022 press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana titled Two Predators Sentenced to Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Four Children They met on Social Media Platforms reads:

“INDIANAPOLIS – Thomas James Israel, 46, of Ft. Wayne, and Max Schafer, 31, of Brownsburg, were each sentenced to federal prison for their role in exploiting four children between October 2019 and August 2020. One of the victims was exploited by both Israel and Schafer during separate incidents.   Israel previously pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child sexual abuse material. On November 15, 2021, Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Israel to twenty-five years in federal prison. Late yesterday, Schafer pleaded guilty to receipt of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material. District Judge James R. Sweeney II sentenced Schafer to over fourteen years (175 months) in federal prison.

“According to court documents, between April 2020 and June 2020, Israel met his first minor victim, who was 14, using online applications such as Omegle and Meetme. Using Snapchat and Kik, Israel persuaded this victim to meet with him in person, then forced the victim into sadomasochistic sexual abuse, including forceful oral sex and assault. Israel recorded the sexual abuse on his mobile phone and later sent the video to the victim.

“Israel met a second minor victim using Snapchat and persuaded the victim to send him explicit videos and photos of herself. When this victim was between 14 and 16 years old, she sent her minor boyfriend sexually explicit images and videos of herself. Without her consent, the boyfriend disseminated the images and videos over the internet. Israel downloaded those images and videos onto his online storage account and viewed them for a sexual purpose. 

“Israel met his third minor victim, who was between 14 and 16 years’ old, over Omegle. Knowing that the victim suffered from mental health issues, Israel induced her to produce child sex abuse material, and to sell the images and videos to others online. Israel took a percentage of the fees and paid the victim by sending her gift cards from Victoria’s Secret.

“According to court documents, Schafer also met Israel’s first minor victim using Omegle. Knowing that the minor victim was only fourteen years old, Schafer met and engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the victim. Schafer also persuaded the victim to send him the video that Israel produced, depicting Israel’s violent sexual abuse of the child.”

As this case and many others show, these predators are highly networked.  While it may be rare for one to commit murder, it is not at all rare for them to coordinate and share victims, whether it be for the purposes of sharing images or in person sexual assault.  As one former investigator put it, when it comes to this type of criminal behavior, “There are no coincidences.”

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