Lovett, 37, Brazil, is currently incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center after a Grand Jury in March handed down two formal allegations of murder for his alleged involvement in the 20-year-old murders of Tonya Pickett and her stepfather Rick Mustard in their home on Nov. 20, 1988
"There are three families involved in this case, each wanting justice done, and I really appreciate the respectful behavior you have all given to this court, to the lawyers and to each other during these proceedings," Clay County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout said at the end of court proceedings late Friday afternoon. "I'm going to do my very best in this case for all of you, and, after being given a new reading assignment, I promise I will have a decision in writing Tuesday."
The promise was made after Special Prosecuting Attorney David N. Powell and Defense Attorney Richard Kammen presented their final oral arguments in the double homicide case.
In his argument, Kammen said just because there is "grotesque rampant speculation" in the prosecution's case it doesn't equal evidence.
"This case doesn't make sense in the real world. All the evidence is circumstantial," Kammen said about his client's guilt. "According to the prosecution's case, John Lovett, a teenager at the time, committed a double homicide that dumbfounded law enforcement for 20 years. Yet, during those 20 years, John stayed in the same community and never once says anything that remotely incriminated himself after countless efforts to get him to do so. The only thing they have is that there was a relationship between John and Tonya Pickett and that there was apparently a teenage argument the night of the murder. There is no evidence in this case that my client is a criminal mastermind who pulled off two murders--one a person he cared for. That defies all known information about human behavior that we know of."
Powell agreed with part of Kammen's arguments.
"The defense is correct, this is a circumstantial case. It's a complicated case," Powell said. "If you argue a small portion of circumstantial evidence in this case, you can defeat it. But this case is about all the parts of circumstantial evidence. That total, the sum of all the parts of circumstantial evidence provided in Grand Jury testimony and collected during the cold case investigations, creates a completed puzzle of this murder."
Although Trout previously reviewed a large amount of more than 3,000 pages of Grand Jury testimony and evidence at the request of the prosecution and defense attorneys from Lovett's last court appearance in August, they requested he review more before making a decision on whether Lovett would be allowed bond. The decision in this unusual and rare court proceeding could potentially set a legal precedence in Indiana.
Trout said he was not comfortable waiting to schedule a trial date any longer and, after discussing scheduling conflicts with the attorneys, set a tentative date for Lovett to stand trial on Feb. 23, 2009.
Lovett was returned to the custody of the Clay County Justice Center.