Although Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout determined a jury would have to decide the merit of the "circumstantial evidence" presented in John Lovett's double murder case, the question of where the jurors would come from has arisen.
On Monday, it was finally answered when Special Prosecutors Delbert Brewer and David Powell and Defense Attorneys Richard Kammen and Dorie Hertzel filed joint approval of the jury selection procedures to be handled in Hendricks County.
On June 5, 2008, the defense requested a change of venue from Clay County, claiming 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 during the past 20 years.
Four days later, the prosecution indicated it did not object to the trial jury being selected from another county and brought back to Clay County.
On Oct. 21, Trout agreed, but believed the entire case needed to be judged by fair and impartial proceedings.
"The case should be decided solely on the evidence and the families involved in this case deserve that," he said before ordering the murder case be venued outside of Clay County.
Although Trout ordered both parties to provide the court their joint agreement within seven days about which Indiana County they wanted to venue the case to, no agreement was provided in the time period ordered.
On Oct. 30, Trout provided a list of five counties for both parties to strike from. The defense removed Morgan County and the prosecution removed Monroe County on first strikes. On second strikes, the defense removed Montgomery County and the prosecution removed Tippecanoe County, leaving Hendricks County for further court proceedings in the case.
On Nov. 3, paperwork was filed with the court indicating the choice, but was rejected by Trout on Nov. 5 because it was only signed by the defense. Trout told The Brazil Times Monday evening he wanted to ensure that all case paperwork was properly filed.
On Monday, Trout approved the re-filed paperwork that had the signatures of both the defense and the prosecuting attorneys.
Although the paperwork only mentions the proceedings involved with the jury selection process, officials confirm the double homicide case is considered in the legal jurisdiction of Hendricks County. Trout will be able to rule on legal matters pertinent to the case until it is processed, accepted and placed on the Hendricks County court calendar.
Facing a $200,000 cash bond (with no 10 percent allowed), Lovett remains incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center awaiting further court proceedings for his alleged involvement in the murders of Tonya Pickett and her stepfather, Rick Mustard, in their home 20 years ago on Nov. 20, 1988.