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BREAKING NEWS: Arrest made in cold case

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Officials met with various family members and media outlets Wednesday at the Clay County Justice Center to announce an arrest had been made in a 20-year-old Clay County cold case.

During the news conference, special prosecutors David Powell and Delbert Brewer said John Lovett, 37, Brazil, was arrested Wednesday morning at a county residence and charged with two counts of murder.

A Grand Jury concluded its efforts recently regarding the murders of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32, on Nov. 20, 1988.

"A lot of work. A tireless effort on their behalf," Powell said of the grand jury investigation. "We thank (the jury) for its work."

Joining Powell and Brewer at the press conference Wednesday were Indiana State Police Detectives Alan McElroy and Troy Stanton, ISP Sgt. Joe Watts and Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton.

Powell said Lovett was charged with two counts of murder and was arraigned in Clay County Circuit Court Wednesday morning.

A trial date of 9 a.m., Aug. 4, 2008, has been scheduled.

Officials confirmed Lovett, then 18, was Pickett's boyfriend at the time of the murders.

"We believe the evidence would show that this was not a professional hit," Powell said.

"We knew there had been a lot of rumors for a lot of years," Brewer added. "That needed to be cleaned up too."

Brewer added the Grand Jury returned a non-indictment against Glenn Selsam, whom the original investigation had centered around.

Lovett was arrested in a subdivision north of Brazil off State Road 59.

Both Powell and Brewer said 1988 statutes apply to the case.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m., Nov. 20, 1988, Mustard and Pickett were discovered dead inside their home, 110 W. Pinckley St., Brazil, from apparent gunshot wounds to their heads.

On Wednesday, Powell said he would not comment on whether a weapon had been recovered but confirmed both died from shotgun blasts to the head and deer slugs had been used.

More information will be provided by The Brazil Times as soon as possible.


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This hurts.... To think that JOHN of all people could've done this. During the funeral John was right there with her mother, Tonya was buried with John's football jersey. It makes me sick!!! Tonya was a GREAT person and friend and she would have done anything for anybody. I want Tonya to finally be able to rest in PEACE. She never deserved what happened to her. May God bless Cheryl and the entire Pickett and Mustard Families.

-- Posted by HailesAngel on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 11:47 AM

I don't know if this guy done this murder or not but my gut tells me something is fishy with this case. I would think that the boyfriend would have been investigated already. and it's sad that an 18 year old kid could out smart the cops.

-- Posted by ape1 on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 1:26 PM

First I want to remind people this is America, where we are all innocent until PROVEN guilty. A Grand Jury Indictment is not a trial!! Also that his children, whom were not even born then, nor his wife is at fault here and that we not drag them through the mud. Too many times children get the blunt of someone else's wrong doings. So please do not let them feel any of this at school, church or anywhere in public. Think they have it bad enough just going through all this, without the badgering of other children, teachers etc. May God be with them all!!

-- Posted by spaceman69 on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 3:28 PM

I have to say that he is not guilty, he was just indicted. It makes me sick that the other person of interest was non indicted. For 20 years this little town has listened to the same story. I don't believe this man(JOHN) who stayed in this little town, made a life for hmself and his family, would have done anything so heinous. He loved Tonya, I don't think the pain he went through loosing her was an act. But just see it for what it is an INDICTMENT-an accusation not a verdict!!!

-- Posted by janklmom on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 4:16 PM

janklemom....I trust in the Grand Jury. I'm sure the jury members listened to a long list of people and that they did not take their duty lightly. I don't understand why it would make you sick that the other person of interest wasn't indicted. Would you want the man taken to trial without probable cause? Most likely, the evidence the jury members were presented did not point in his direction. Apparently, jurors felt there was enough indication to pursue the issue further. In fact, I believe they must have heard enough that made them feel a trial of John Lovett would be the right direction to take. If he is not guilty, then that will come out in his trial. He must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so why not allow the court system to function as our forefathers intended?

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 7:09 PM

I am very happy to hear the number of comments that everyone has placed regarding the Lovett children and the fact that they are not at fault. I am saddened to read the number of comments stating that John is not guilty and the statements regarding how we need to remember him in prayer and so on. Where are the comments of care and concern for Tonya and Ricky's families? Are we forgetting the horrible scene that runs through Cheryl's head each and every night when she closes her eyes? What about the prayers that should have been said by each of us for their cry for answers over the past 20 years? Tonya Pickett was a wonderful, energetic, fabulous girl. Do you not feel that her family deserves the same respect that you are demanding for John and his family? How do you know that he is not guilty? Where you there that dreary November night in 1988? You do not know what he or anyone else is capable of. If you have not all the facts then perhaps you should consider silence. Words can hurt, words can heal....what words will you choose?

-- Posted by dogcrazy on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 8:50 PM

Dogcrazy.....I cannot in my wildest imagination fathom what Tonya and Ricky's families have had to deal with over the past 20 years! Every time I have driven past the house on Pinckley Street I have prayed that these two horrific murders would be solved so the families could find some kind of closure. I didn't know Ricky very well, but I witnessed first hand the special bond Tonya and her mother shared. The families deserve justice.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 9:22 PM

Just want to say again that I am praying for all the families! (as my comment on the other artical said), I wanted to clarify that. I also want to clarify that I said he was not found guilty, that he was indicted. Just asking that people remember innocent till proven guilty. I pray that the case is handled with honesty, and our community acts as christians and not treat any of the 3 family's with the disregard that they have in the past.

-- Posted by janklmom on Thu, Mar 20, 2008, at 12:12 AM

dogcrazy... I agree with you... I cannot even begin to think of all the pain that Cheryl has endured over the years. I was friends with Tonya, we sat together EVERY morning before "Early Bird" US History class and did our homework together. I considered her a good friend. Cheryl's family and the Mustard family need this to finally give Ricky and Tonya PEACE... They deserve this...

-- Posted by HailesAngel on Thu, Mar 20, 2008, at 7:42 AM


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