John Lovett, 37, Brazil, is currently incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center for his alleged involvement in the 20-year-old murders after a Grand Jury handed down two formal allegations of murder in March.
An improper hearing process allowed Lovett to bond out for 10 percent of the initial $200,000 bond on April 16. When the mistake was discovered and the bond revoked by the Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout, Lovett voluntarily turned himself in to authorities at the Clay County Sheriff's Department without incident on May 12.
The problem stemmed from a rarely used legal precedent that allows a defendant facing murder charges to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution and present their own evidence in order to request a bond reduction.
Trout felt the issue needed to be corrected immediately to protect the integrity of the case and ensure Lovett's legal rights.
"The defense has a legal right to challenge evidence presented by the prosecution during the bond process," he recently told The Brazil Times. "Afterwards, the court will then make a legal decision if a bond reduction should be made."
Officials agree this is an unusual court proceeding.
"There really isn't that much previous case law to work from," Special Prosecuting Attorney David N. Powell said after Thursday's court proceedings. "It is unusual for a bond reduction request in a murder case. This has happened only a handful of times."
Although Defense Attorney Richard Kammen challenged several Grand Jury witnesses and the investigators during testimony in the evidentiary portion of the proceedings on Aug. 12, 13 and Thursday, both Powell and Prosecutor Delbert Brewer believe their case is strong.
"Nothing new was brought up during these proceedings," Powell said after Forensic Pathologist John E. Pless finished testifying Thursday. "Nothing has changed, no new evidence was presented."
Focusing on which victim was shot first, the position of Pickett's body and whether it was moved after her death, Kammen questioned Pless about the autopsy reports, crime scene photos and his interpretation of that evidence.
At conclusion of the court proceedings, Trout said the attorneys had agreed to present submissions to the court of highlighted rebuttal testimony from the more than 3,000 pages in order to speed up the bond process.
In compliance with the agreement, Powell presented the prosecution's document but requested another week from the court to highlight specific testimony in regards to Pless' testimony Thursday and testimony provided by Indiana State Police Lead Investigator Alan McElroy on Aug. 13.
Because the defense is able to cross examine evidence presented in the prosecution's submission that should be filed on or before Aug. 29, Trout said Kammen must present his rebuttal on or before Sept. 5.
With expectations of reviewing a large amount of paperwork, Trout believes he will be able to set the date for oral arguments to take place in court within six weeks. Afterwards, Trout said a decision would be made after reviewing both arguments regarding Lovett's bond reduction.
With his bond proceedings still pending, Lovett remains incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center.