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Thursday, May 06, 2021

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Former Richmond student's preliminary murder hearing set for June 21

A former University of Richmond student accused of killing a companion with a hatchet was held without bond in Montgomery Court on Tuesday, May 28.

Claude Alexander Allen III, known as Alex, was a junior at Richmond when he withdrew in October 2012, said Brian Eckert, director of Richmond media relations.

Rising-senior Ryan Leddy said he had been shocked when he heard about the accusations.

"I spent the first couple of days not really believing it," Leddy said. He thought some detail was missing, he said. Allen and Leddy knew each other as teammates on the club rugby team. Leddy described Allen as a "friendly, good-natured kid."

On Tuesday, May 28, Allen appeared in court via video monitor from a Montgomery County jail. His attorney, Richard Finci, said he had declined to seek bail for his client at the time, according to a Washington Post article.

"We have a lot of work to do to investigate this case on behalf of our client," Finci said.

Allen gave police at least three versions of what happened last week, one involving him attacking the victim, Michael P. Harvey, 25, after an argument about drug sales, according to charging documents.

A trashcan may have been used to transport the body of the victim to a wooded area behind Allen's home, police said.

Leddy said that he had been following the case as best he could, and that as evidence had come out it had been harder not to believe.

"He's a smart kid; I know that." Leddy said. "I think he's just a smart kid who made a serious, serious mistake in a moment of anger."

Insight into what exactly happened came from a third man, identified as "Witness 1" in court papers, who was in the Allen home at the time of the events.

At some point when Witness 1 was in the kitchen, Allen appeared from the garage area with blood on his hands, according to court papers. Allen said he had just "got the person" who had been trying to rob the house and that the alleged robber was in the garage. The witness saw the victim in the garage with a wound to the back of the neck, according to charging documents.

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The account given by the charging document is as follows: "Witness 1 stated the defendant requested his help with getting rid of the body. Witness 1, fearing for his safety, assisted the defendant with placing the victim's body into a trashcan. The defendant proceeded to go to the basement of the residence, at which time, Witness 1 ran out of the residence and fled."

Allen's preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 21 at 10 a.m. at Montgomery County District Court.

Contact staff writer Kylie McKenna at kylie.mckenna@richmond.edu

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