[The Brazil Times nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 62°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 55°F
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Officials make arrest in cold case

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

John Lovett
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. He is currently being held without bond in the Clay County Justice Center.

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. 18, 1988, Mustard and Pickett were discovered 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.

The Grand Jury began working on the case Feb. 26 and concluded work March 14.

State law prohibits the release of information provided to the Grand Jury, meaning officials at the press conference Wednesday could provide little detail.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on thebraziltimes.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

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 3:26 PM

I agree with spaceman! I don't believe a person would do something of this magnitude and contine to make a life and family in this SMALL TOWN where everyone knows everything about you before you do. He is not guilty he has been indicted. I hope those who are already seeing John as guilty after todays announcement remember that God is our final Judge. Our prayers are with all of the families.

-- Posted by janklmom on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 3:41 PM

I don't know this man, but my kids know his kids along with a few of my freinds and their kids. We've all explained to our kids that the Lovett kids are not atfault and their father is not proven guilty. We have encouraged our children to be kind and friendly to the lovett kids. Hopefully other parent will do the same

-- Posted by proudmomof2 on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 5:29 PM

I was glad to see mention of the non-indictment of Glen Selsam printed in the paper. He and his family have been victims of the rumor mill long enough. I'm sure the trial will unfold and that a fair verdict will be reached. If John Lovett is not guilty of these crimes, then that will most likely become apparent at the trial. The Grand Jury indictment merely indicates probable cause to proceed. The Pickett and Mustard families deserve closure after all these long years. This is indeed a sad case for all involved!

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 6:33 PM

What a truely sad day this is, to see an innocent man jailed over politics. I know John and it is not possible for him to commit an act such as this. I ask that all christians pray that the light of truth exposes the truely guilty one, and John will be sent home to his family where he belongs. I also pray that the ones who really done this gets a conscience and turns themselves in, or anyone knowing any information on who really did this would finally speak out for God's sake.

-- Posted by jodycat on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 7:11 PM

First I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during the last twenty years. I am Rick's cousin. I grew up next door to him and his sisters and it hit our family hard because we are close. I do hope if John is innocent, he might know who was responsible. The jury would not have indicted him if there was not enough evidence. Please keep him, his family and our families in your prayers.

-- Posted by corgimom64@yahoo.com on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 8:48 PM

Good grief people! I mean I am not saying that he is guilty or not, I am simply saying that no one would have guessed that John Wayne Gacy was capable of doing all of the murders that he did; or for that matter the police had no idea when they were pleaded with for help by a young boy who had escaped from Jeffrey Dahmer, that the boy was going to be brutally murdered and dismembered by the man they returned the boy to! My point is, that in this day and age it is very possible for some people to go on with their live as if nothing had happened. I personally don't know the man in question, all I am saying is that it is possible to know someone but not really "know" them too! Please don't take this wrong.

-- Posted by Southernized on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 8:52 PM

You make a valid point, Southernized. Just because you know someone doesn't mean you know them like you think you do. Think of how many supposedly loving parents abuse their children, sometimes to the point of causing death. How many times are family members and neighbors shocked when the truth comes out and the parent confesses to the crime? It is easy to misjudge someone, even members of your own family. I, too, am not saying John Lovett is guilty. I'm just saying let the process run its course. Keep all the families and our community in your prayers.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 9:09 PM

Yes the law states that one is innocent until proven guilty......but in Brazil, Indiana one is GUILTY until proven INNOCENT. How come 20 some years later they NOW have enough evidence to "proceed" with a trial? Did new evidence just poof out of the woodwork?

-- Posted by vu_law_student10 on Thu, Mar 20, 2008, at 7:14 AM

Evidence has been collected over the years.

I feel most eveyone is in shock over this arrest. But the grand jury has had to have something presented to them to go in this direction. So now it is wait and see time. Let the system run its course/ and the evidence become public before passing your judgement.

Just remember Johns wife and kids came after the fact Please dont pass judgement on them.

For the victims family / and johns, my prayers and thought are with you.

-- Posted by pepsilady on Thu, Mar 20, 2008, at 11:38 AM

hate_snitches07.........It happens all the time in all different places. It's called a cold case. Sometimes people are too close to a situation to see it clearly. Often, new people to a team bring new and different perspectives. Perhaps, this is exactly what happened in this instance.

Come on.....guilty in Brazil, Indiana until proven innocent? That's such an "egg on your face" comment. One has to wonder if you feel this way because you hate snitches and have had a run in or two with the legal system. If people did what they were supposed to do and abided by the law, then there wouldn't be any snitches now would there?

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Thu, Mar 20, 2008, at 10:06 PM

I'm not saying John is guilty, only time will tell. What I am saying is, everyone knows that the best place to hide is in plain sight.

-- Posted by jerryandterri@localnet.com on Sat, Mar 22, 2008, at 4:09 PM

I don't have alot of faith in the criminal justice system. Everyone heard rumors years ago that the Mayor and his son at the time were involved, and the Mayor with all of his power, covered it all up. It would be sad if more innocent people and their families suffered because of anothers ignorance.

-- Posted by bigmama on Sun, Apr 13, 2008, at 4:17 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: