[The Brazil Times nameplate] Fair ~ 59°F  
High: 74°F ~ Low: 49°F
Friday, May 6, 2016

Lovett bond reduction hearing continued

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Clay County Sheriff's Department jailers escort John Lovett to the Clay County Courthouse Wednesday. Ivy Jackson Photo.
John Lovett's defense attorney is attempting to get his bond reduced by challenging the Grand Jury indictment for his alleged involvement in the 20-year old double homicide of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32, on Nov. 20, 1988.

"We are challenging the weaknesses in the prosecution's case against John," Defense Attorney Richard Kammen told The Brazil Times outside the Clay County Circuit Courtroom Wednesday. "We are pointing out the inconsistencies in the case."

Taken into custody in March for two counts of murder and initially incarcerated with a $200,000 bond, Lovett, 37, Brazil, the indictment information filed by the Grand Jury against Lovett was sealed. He was released on bail from the Clay County Justice Center April 16 after raising the 10 percent, $20,000, for bail.

Shortly afterwards, it was discovered there was an improper hearing process when setting the initial bond. When the court revoked his bond, Lovett voluntarily turned himself in to authorities at the Clay County Sheriff's Department without incident on May 12.

According to Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout, no evidentiary hearing took place before the court set the bond in April. An evidentiary hearing would have allowed Lovett and his defense counsel to dispute the case against him.

"The defense has a legal right to challenge evidence presented by the prosecution during the bond process," Trout said. "Afterwards, the court will then make a legal decision if a bond reduction should be made."

Although witnesses were questioned and testimony was presented in the courtroom about information provided during the three-week Grand Jury proceedings in February, Tuesday and Wednesday's proceedings are not part of the potential murder trial.

Kammen spent those two days attempting to show that testimony provided during the Grand Jury proceedings was potentially one-sided. He questioned several witnesses about the "good relationship" Lovett had with Pickett and how he would not be involved in her murder or that of her father.

Officials believed the Grand Jury testimony in February would help develop more evidence and get to the truth.

John Lovett
While the Grand Jury returned a non-indictment against Glenn Selsam, whom the original investigation was focused upon, Kammen feels the testimony presented was designed for that purpose. He believes the testimony was presented in such a way it cleared Selsam, and some other targets, while pointing out that "John was the last man standing" when it was all over.

In an effort to prove the case was weak against Lovett, Kammen spent two days challenging aspects of the Grand Jury testimony.

The defense questioned why information provided from several sources during the 20-year investigation that should have led to the investigation of suspects other than Lovett.

Kammen questioned Indiana State Police Det. Alan McElroy, lead investigator in the case since 2003, why all of a sudden ISP Dive Teams were diving in a pond at Craig Park Tuesday.

"Your brother officers were pretty busy yesterday, weren't they?" he said. "What were they looking for in the pond at Craig Park?"

Although the pond had been mentioned in prior interviews, McElroy confirmed the dive teams were investigating the area in hopes of finding the shotgun used in the murders. McElroy confirmed that nothing was found at the site that could be connected to the case, but added, "We will continue to search and investigate leads in this case until it goes to trial."

In 2004, Brazil City Police Captain Roger Lindsay, one of the original investigators, was accused of creating false information that wrongly implicated individuals of the murders. The first time a Grand Jury was convened in this case, Lindsay was the target, and although he was indicted on several charges, they were later dismissed.

Both the prosecution and Kammen believe Lindsay's alleged tampering hampered both the original case and the subsequent Indiana State Police Cold Case Investigative Team's investigations of the unsolved crime for more than 17 years.

As testimony continued, Kammen provided many different theories for the murders.

Allegations of the murders being connected to drugs, cover-ups, political corruption, corrupt and lazy police officers, shoddy police work and intentional lies, gossip and innuendo from potential witness interviews made family members and friends of the murder victims and Lovett sitting in the courtroom gasp in apparent shock.

Scheduling conflicts didn't allow the testimony of a professional pathologist during Wednesday's court proceedings.

Trout continued the proceedings to allow for the pathologist's testimony on Aug. 21, at 1:30 p.m. A decision will be made about Lovett's bond reduction after the evidentiary portion of the proceedings.

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.

I have faith in the courts,but 20 years has been long enough!!!! my brother and myself have grown up without our father and step-sister.my kids will never have a grandfather to take them fishing,or watch them get married.the work of the I.S.P.cold case team was excellent and i applaud them for the countless hours they have invested in this case.

-- Posted by mustard01 on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 12:33 AM

We are so grateful to the ISP team that has worked so diligently in this case. Our best to their families, as they have missed much time with them during this long investigation.

-- Posted by dogcrazy on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 7:30 AM

TRY THIS AGAIN... There should be no bail! This is a double murder charge; why is bail even an option? I believe in innocent until proven guilty but there had to be something the grand jury found to bring this indictment and after 20 years of no arrest and to just maybe finally getting somewhere bail should not be an option! What options did Rick and Tonya have when faced with death? What options did Rick's children have when growing up without a dad? Would you want a suspect running free IF it were your dad, your son, your brother who was murdered?

-- Posted by levr.gar on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 10:18 AM

I just hope it doesn't take another 20 years to finally find the murderer/s of Rick and Tonya, IF John is innocent. Don't know how long their families can deal with not knowing another 20 years.

-- Posted by corgimom64@yahoo.com on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 11:02 AM

I don't think things will turn out different after all of this......i was skeptical at first along with others, but after reading Burnetts' testimony and knowing my friend that was killed later and how everyone knew it was related...well, it's all starting to make sense now.

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 11:33 PM

Bart wants to know about the paragraph below. Anyone know what kind of evidence was alleged to be tampered? Did he resign or get fired from the PD? I notice his name is nowhere to be found on the personnel list or retired list on the dept. website. Also, the story on 8/12 has another paragraph saying it was possibly tampered with to implicate guilt on certain individuals. Was he possibly under pressure from either within the department or in the community to get an arrest or conviction on whoever the finger can be pointed at? Was he under scrutiny for job performance? Up for a promoton? At an outward glance Bart thinks that a decent person (or police officer) would not point the finger or possibly tamper knowing it may be the wrong person.

"In 2004, Brazil City Police Captain Roger Lindsay, one of the original investigators, was accused of creating false information that wrongly implicated individuals of the murders. The first time a Grand Jury was convened in this case, Lindsay was the target, and although he was indicted on several charges, they were later dismissed"

-- Posted by bartpeterson24 on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 8:58 AM

Wow!!! HOW SAD I thought lynching mobs were of the past innocent until PROVEN GUILTY!!! I DO FEEL BAD AND SORRY FOR EVERYONE AND MY HEART GOES OUT TO EVERYONE INVOLVED!! John has NOT been proven guilty !! All comments should REFLECT THAT FACT!! I have heard with my own hears the evidence THERE IS NOTHING!! I hope that the right person/persons are brought to justice and ALL of the families that have been effected can have some closure...

-- Posted by loving_sis on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 5:57 PM

Thank u loving_sis!!! I have heard with me own ears and there is nothing and what was even funnier was watching the state investagator sqirm in his set when he was being called out!!

-- Posted by loving_cuz on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 10:29 PM

There is NOTHING FUNNY about murder! or children being raised without a Dad or parents without their only son or daughter. Funny??? The only funny thing here is the ones who are "trying" a case on bond hearing. A second test was mentioned as being taken-why was that??? Maybe because the first was questionable? THIS IS ABOUT A BOND HEARING----NO BOND ON A CHARGE OF MURDER!

-- Posted by levr.gar on Sat, Aug 16, 2008, at 10:33 PM

-- Posted by mustard3 on Mon, Aug 18, 2008, at 12:25 PM

loving_cuz and lovin_sis, you must be related to John or else you wouldn't be this adamant about his innocence. If so, how come you are getting information that Rick and Tonya's families have been trying to get for 20 years without any luck?

Again, were you there? Did you get a phone call at 4:00 in the morning saying your loved one was mudered? I think not. And if John is guilty, he will just sit in a prison for a few years but still be ALIVE!!! I hope he is not guilty for his kids sake, but no one but Rick's kids are saying anything about them and the grandkids he will never know.

-- Posted by corgimom64@yahoo.com on Tue, Aug 19, 2008, at 10:26 AM

To: loving_cuz.......What I saw in that courtroom was a very "confident" and "professional" detective that may have moved from one cheek to the other because he had sat there for 7 hours for a defense lawyer who calls dead people to the stand to go on and on and on. Now that is what we call funny, calling dead people to the stand!

-- Posted by photobug on Tue, Aug 19, 2008, at 8:06 PM

I wish they could call dead people to the stand, then maybe ALL of the families would finally find peace.

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Wed, Aug 20, 2008, at 6:32 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: