The Allen County Superior Court released a statement on Tuesday regarding Special Judge Fran Gull receiving urgent medical treatment before working from home only two days after meeting with the defense attorneys for the case involving Richard Allen in Delphi on Oct. 31.
The statement was distributed by John McGauley, Allen Court administrator, to local and national media, outlining Gull’s hospitalization and “urgent medical condition” that resulted in a need for her to work from home.
“After feeling under the weather for several days, Judge Gull consulted with her physician on Nov. 2, 2023,” the statement reads. “Her doctor concluded that she required treatment for an urgent medical condition. Judge Gull was subsequently admitted to a Fort Wayne hospital for inpatient treatment for several days.”
Gull has served as a Judge in the Allen Superior Court since Jan. 1, 1997 and served as the Administrative Judge of Superior Court’s Criminal Division for more than 20 years. The statement reported that Gull is expected to continue her career with the Allen Superior Court in the near future inside the courtroom.
“Since then, she has been working from home in coordination with her Allen Superior Court colleagues,” the statement reads. “Her fellow Criminal Division Judges are handling Judge Gull’s court calendar temporarily until she returns to the office, which she expects to be soon.”
The statement did not clarify whether Gull’s colleagues were handling aspects of the Delphi murders case against Richard Allen, who was charged in 2022 for two counts of murder after investigations led to his arrest for the February 2017 deaths of Abigail Williams and Liberty German near the Monon High Bridge in Delphi.
Within the past few months of the case, Gull and the court have experienced numerous legal battles and challenges, including evidence leaks and the withdrawal of Allen’s initial defense team amidst the evidence leaks. On Tuesday, court filings showed that Mitchell Westerman was charged with Conversion, a Class A misdemeanor. The court set bond in the amount of $1,000 surety or $250 cash. Court documents revealed that Westerman is a former co-worker of Andrew Baldwin, one of the previous defense attorneys for Allen who withdrew from the case amidst the evidence leak investigations by the Indiana State Police. According to the documents, Westerman no longer works alongside Baldwin but frequently made visits to his office as a friend.
On Oct. 5, law enforcement was notified about a possible leak in evidence in the case against Allen, which included sensitive crime scene photos that were not released to the public. Law enforcement was notified of the spread of the photos online as well as through podcast creators that have followed the case, which led to the launch of an investigation.
According to court documents, Westerman reportedly admitted to leaking the information after visiting Baldwin’s office where he photographed the evidence photos and distributed them to a Fishers man. According to investigators, the Fishers man shared the evidence with a man from Texas before the photographs were distributed to various media creators. According to the court documents, the Fishers man reportedly took his own life after being questioned by investigators.
Westerman reportedly signed a sworn statement stating that Baldwin was not present when the photos were taken nor was Westerman given permission to take the photos by Baldwin or Brad Rozzi, the other defense attorney removed from the case. The information leak caused Gull to remove Rozzi and Baldwin from the case after stating that the leak was “grossly negligent.” Since their removal, the attorneys have filed a case with the Indiana Supreme Court with a request to be reinstated as Allen’s legal counsel as well as a request for Gull to be removed from the case.
Following the Oct. 31 hearing, the jury trial orginally scheduled for January 2024 was rescheduled to begin Oct. 15, 2024.