Clay County Circuit Court officials confirmed Monday that an eight-member panel has been convened in the Grand Jury cold case investigation of the 20-year-old double homicide of Brazil residents Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32.
With 20 years worth of information collected during three separate investigations into the case, jury members are expected to begin reviewing evidence presented by Special Prosecutors David Powell and Delbert Brewer today.
Officials have not released the name(s) of the potential target(s) of the Grand Jury investigation because of the secretive nature of the process, but did confirm there was potentially more than one.
"We are going to give the Grand Jury everything we have," Powell said during a press conference at the Clay County Justice Center on Feb. 7. "We believe this case can be solved, or we wouldn't be doing this."
Up to 230 potential witnesses could be called to testify in a process officials believe will take approximately three-four weeks, but have up to six months to complete.
"You could fill an entire wall with all the binders of information gathered during the investigation of this case. Imagine how many missed diamonds of information in there that could have been overlooked over the years, we took a fresh look at that information," Powell said. "It's our job to review this information and present it to the Grand Jury so they can take a fresh look at it and see if we can solve this case."
Officials believe that convening a Grand Jury will enhance the investigative process in the 20-year-old case and help develop even more evidence because witnesses are compelled to tell the truth by penalty of perjury.
This is the second Grand Jury convened in this case. The first took place in 2004, after one of the original investigators, Captain Roger Lindsay, was accused of creating false information that wrongly implicated individuals of the murders and hampered both the original case and the ISP Cold Case Investigative Team's investigation of the unsolved crime for more than 17 years.
On Saturday, Nov. 20, 1988, shortly before 1:30 a.m., Ricky Mustard and stepdaughter Tonya Pickett were discovered inside their home located at 110 W. Pinckley Street dead from gunshot wounds to their heads when wife/mother Cheryl Pickett returned home from work.