Recognizing the State of Indiana provides that the charge of murder "is not bailable" when the evidence in a case is considered strong, Clay County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout wrote in the order issued Tuesday morning that a jury would have to decide the merit of the "circumstantial evidence" to be presented in the case.
In February, a Grand Jury handed down two murder indictments against Lovett. He was initially ordered a $200,000 bond with 10 percent allowed in March and released from the Clay County Justice Center.
The court later revoked the bond when it was discovered a hearing did not take place before setting the initial bond.
According to Indiana law, proof in a criminal case may be presented by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. However, only on the issue of bail, a defendant, including one charged with murder, can challenge the prosecution's evidence during an evidentiary hearing.
When Lovett was returned to jail, the defense set about challenging the evidence in the case in an attempt to allow bail.
During the recent and lengthy evidentiary/bond proceedings, Special Prosecuting Attorneys Delbert Brewer and David N. Powell and Defense Attorney Richard Kammen agreed there was no "direct evidence" connecting Lovett to the murders in their final arguments
It was conceded in final oral arguments by both attorneys that there was not a murder weapon, any statement of confession or admission during the 20-year investigation into the murders, any eye witness to the crime on Nov. 20, 1988, and/or any scientific evidence such as DNA, blood evidence, finger prints, shoe prints or the like that directly ties Lovett to the murder or the murder scene.
With this lack of direct evidence, which was thoroughly reviewed by the court, it was determined the prosecution's case is built on circumstantial evidence.
According to Trout's order, the evidence is not sufficient enough to prevent Lovett from receiving bail and sustained the defense's request for bail.
The previously established $200,000 bond in April is appropriate and will stand, but with no 10 percent allowed.
If Lovett is able to bond out, he will be required to:
* Have no contact (direct or indirectly) with any family members of the victims or the grand jury members,
* Surrender his passport and not be allowed to leave Indiana without an order from the court,
* Report to the Clay County Community Corrections Department twice a week and be submitted to electronic monitoring the final 30 days before the trial,
* Not be able to change his place of residence without permission of the court,
* Sign a waiver of extradition consent,
* Appear in court as ordered for the case, and
* Obey all state, federal and local laws as condition of bail.
The second decision in Trout's court order was about where the murder trial will take place on Feb. 23, 2009.
On June 5, 2008, the defense requested a change of venue from Clay County, claiming that the case was a source of great controversy, publicity, rumor, gossip and innuendo in the community.
It was also brought to the attention of the court that as many as 200 witnesses could be called in the case and, given the size of Clay County, it would be difficult to seat a fair and impartial panel of jurors who would not know witnesses or had been exposed to the case over the years.
Four days later, the prosecution indicated to the court they did not object to the trial jury being selected from another county and brought back to Clay County.
Agreeing the case needed to be judged by fair and impartial proceedings, Trout wrote, "The case should be decided solely on the evidence and the families involved in this case deserve that," before ordering the murder case be venued out of Clay County.
He ordered both parties to provide the court within seven days from the court order their joint agreement as to which county in Indiana to venue the case.
However, if they are unable to agree on a county within seven days, two days afterward, Trout will provide a list of counties to both parties to strike from to determine the venue county where the court proceedings will take place.
As of Tuesday afternoon, jail officials confirmed that Lovett, 37, Brazil, remained incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center.