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Lovett released from jail

Thursday, December 18, 2008

An area man was released from the Clay County Justice Center Wednesday on $200,000 bail.

John Lovett, 37, Brazil, was released from the center Wednesday after posting bail. He has been accused of the 1988 killings of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32.

Lovett was granted bail in October. Clay County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout ruled on Oct. 21 that Lovett was eligible for bail.

According to Trout's order at the time, the evidentiary review process indicated the state's circumstantially based evidence in the case was not sufficient enough to prevent Lovett from receiving bail.

In October, Trout ordered the $200,000 bond -- which had been established in April -- was to stand and that no 10 percent be allowed.

Special prosecutors Delbert Brewer and David Powell, along with defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Dorie Hertzel, filed joint approval last month for jury selection procedures to take place in Hendricks County. A trial date has been tentatively scheduled for Feb. 23, 2009.

A change of venue had been requested by defense attorneys in June earlier this year.

The request claimed the case was a "source of great controversy, rumor, gossip and innuendo" in the community.

Just days later, the prosecution indicated it had no objection to the trial jury being selected in another county.

Trout later agreed with the request.

In March, a Grand Jury handed down two formal indictments of murder for Lovett's alleged involvement in the 20-year-old murder case, which took place Nov. 20, 1988.

Both were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head.

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That is alot of money...

-- Posted by ibclean76@yahoo.com on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 11:56 AM

It's the law!!! Murder is NOT bailible!!! This is not only a slap in the face to the victim's families but to the judicial system that we as citizens are suppose to follow. This has nothing to do with innocent or guilt...but the fact is he has been charged with a double murder! And if the evidence is strong enough for a grand jury indictment then it should stand up for bail hearing. He didn't have children when Rick was murdered but Rick did. A 13 and a 7 year old. That 13 year old was asked if he did it! That 7 year old had horrible nightmares. He doesn't remember his Dad. These children still suffer and always will. Indiana law states murder is not bailible; this tells us it's okay for a judge to break the laws.

-- Posted by levr.gar on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 1:32 PM

Just maybe their case is not that strong

-- Posted by ape1 on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 1:45 PM

if indiana law states that murder is not bailable maybe you should call the states attorneys office or file a pettition with the court.

-- Posted by former knight on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 1:48 PM

Ok, here's my take on it. Of course I don't know for sure, but I doubt John or his family could put up 200 grand, so there are evidently some people out there who must think he's innocent. And I don't know what the law actually states about bailing out on a murder charge, but if it is illegal to do that then why would they let him? And if it is illegal then why isn't someone blowing the whistle on whomever is responsible for letting him walk out?

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 1:51 PM


-- Posted by alias on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 4:11 PM

Ang__65 Sorry. I would be happy to use lower case letters. Those capital letters do seem harsh. You have a nice evening also.

-- Posted by alias on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 5:41 PM

I do not think John Lovett killed anyone. I do personally know him, and before he was arrested, he was the youth pastor at my church, he is a very nice man and I cannot see him ever killing anyone, there are so many unsolved mysterys in clay county, look at the Jennifer Stockrahm case, she was my next door neighbor and no one ever found out her killer. I know a family that thought they were going to give birth to a baby boy and when the baby came out it was a girl, John would not let her leave the hospital until she had girl clothing, he is a very nice man and I think this whole thing is just dumb.

-- Posted by lovelylove9109 on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 10:21 PM

No need to apoligize Alias! Those who are commenting on the fact that John shouldn't be released on a murder charge and that the judge is breaking the rules needed to have the review. You have every right to your opinion don't get me wrong but you should seriously use intelligence. Know the facts before you post the comment. It is sad to see people(with hidden identities) who will say anything just to be heard.

-- Posted by janklmom on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 10:28 PM

And to add to the story of the little girl who was a "surprise", she was born in March of 1990. He has always been a very good person I cant even imagine such a thing.

-- Posted by janklmom on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 10:38 PM

I just wanted to give everyone a reference to look up instead of everyone screaming over what the law is.

IC 35-33-8-2

Murder; other offenses

Sec. 2. (a) Murder is not bailable when the proof is evident or the presumption strong. In all other cases, offenses are bailable.

(b) A person charged with murder has the burden of proof that he should be admitted to bail.

As added by Acts 1981, P.L.298, SEC.2.

You may find this and all other bail laws at:



-- Posted by Criminology08 on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 12:00 AM

I need no correction! I know the charges and I have never made one statement to the effect that I think he is guilty. I honestly have no opinion on his innocence or guilt. But I have a right to say how I feel about anyone walking around free on a murder indictment. And I do know what the law is. And if there is enough evidence to bring a grand jury indictment......and the presumption is strong. Thank you very much Criminology 8. Now anyone in doubt can read for themselves. But then it really doesn't matter now does it? It's already done; it doesn't matter what this does to the victims, the families. Yes, we have waited 20 years. Like we had a choice? All any of us all ever wanted was the truely guilty behind bars; closure and peace.

-- Posted by levr.gar on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 12:47 AM

Where`s the gun? Was it possibly raffled at a bar maybe? What happened to the person who first admitted to this when it happened? You can get by with murder here in Brazil,In. as long as you don,t leave the scene of the crime while either DRINKING & DRIVING or FAILURE to a use SAFTEY RESTRAINT! levr.gar have you ever seen 48hrs. MYSTERY? AND do you ever wonder what it would be like to be accused of something , LETS SAY , your innocent of! To me you sound like a persecutor , excuse me , I mean prosecutor!!!!

-- Posted by rooster1 on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 10:21 AM


I guess I don't understand the difference between being accused of murder and being charged. Evidently being accused isn't as bad as being charged? But if so then why has he spent so much time in jail and why did he have to pay $200,000 to get out if he was only accused.

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 11:08 AM

Only one this you said even makes sense rooster...yes you can get away with murder in Brazil. The rest is crap! Unsolved Mystery's? How about when they were here for this case and was sent away? The gun....maybe in a closet? The rumors are flying just like they did 20 years ago.IF & when this case ever gets tried hopefully the truth will all come out but after 20 years I won't be holding my breath. And I have never put out any accusations of guilt about anyone. Therefore you are way out of line in accusing me of persecution.

-- Posted by levr.gar on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 12:39 PM

He's innocent until proven guilty people! Maybe..just maybe he is innocent. Could you imagine being accused of something that you didn't do? It happens....

Maybe he did do it~

Just doesn't seem likely, regardless I am glad to hear he is out for the holidays to spend time with his family. YES THATS MY OPINION, WHETHER YOU ALL LIKE IT OR NOT.

-- Posted by mywords1 on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 3:01 PM

YES!!! SO THANKFUL HE is home for the HOLIDAYS!! And He does have people that love and believe in HIM!! The Judge heard all of the evidence and as he has said repeatedly he has heard NOTHING and there is NOTHING warranting keeping this man in jail...the grand jury went off A LOT of RUMORS and hear say how sad! So much Talk of INJUSTICE in the system NOW THAT IS INJUSTICE just to have a case closed...BUT.. THEN AGAIN THAT'S MY OPINION...I'M ENTITLED TO IT...

-- Posted by loving_sis on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 5:58 PM

Did I read the article incorrectly? Is this really 20 years ago? Is John Lovett really 37 years old? Are we to believe that a boy 17 years old did the shootings? What a sick society we exist in.

-- Posted by Duddlebug on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 7:26 PM


Yes, isn't a little crazy how we are expected to believe a 17-year-old kid walked into his girlfriend's house with a shotgun one night in the middle of town, shot two people dead, and was smart enough at the time to cover up the crime scene enough that even twenty years later it still has everybody baffled. We are also expected to believe that he would have the ability to keep quiet about it and even have the audacity to stick around town for twenty years. Yes, we are expected to believe he had the cold-hearted conscience and the terrorist-like qualities of a professional hit-man at the tender age of 17.

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 9:21 AM

This has blowen me away, I was shocked when i read they areested john, i dont comment on things much. I Will have to hear what the evidence they have on him. I was friends of most the family, I dont recall John being mentioned as a suspect questioned yeah. along with a few others that their car was seen in the location. If they strongly believe John did it Hope they are good STRONG evidence if its gonna put a guy away for life. Its been 20 years and i dont live far from where it happened, every time i pass by there which is often i think of that night and wonder if those two and the family will ever get true justice. To me its hard to believe a kid could cover up a crimelike this one and LEAVE NO CLUES or brag about getting by with murder,plus stay in the same town. I have my thoughts and fellings on this and its hasnt changed in the 20 yrs on who was involved in this crime.

My hearts and prayers goes out to All families involved.

If John is found guilty on weak evidence, There will still be that same 20 yr WHO REALLY KILLED RICK AND TONYA, I MYSELF believe the KILLER was SOMEONE that KNEW what he was doing and how to cover his tracks.

-- Posted by pepsilady on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 11:53 AM

so if the majority of us don't think John done it, what does everyone think? then what happened?

-- Posted by hoosierryan on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 8:16 PM

My thoughts are they will never find out what happened unless someone comes forward and tells all. If John done it. It will shock me beyond words......

-- Posted by pepsilady on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 4:53 AM

It is very sad that this all happened 20 years ago and we are still at a standstill. I was only 18 when these murders happened and like many heard countless "rumors" (of course, when you live in Brazil you take them more as truth than rumors) of what happened that night. Over the past twenty years, no one ever brought John into the picture as a suspect through the "rumor mill". HOWEVER, that does not mean a thing....anything is possible, seems exceptionally improbable, but possible. I could list all of the factors that make no sense, but we all know them or soon will when the trial unfolds. Thank goodness it is in Feb., instead of later, so all of the families can start to get some closure. But, I too, used to comment on how the little town of Brazil could take up a lot of time on Unsolved Mysteries....especially in the 80s. It was amazing how many things happened in such a small, isolated town and then remarkabley stopped once we finally got new community leaders.....just my opinion.

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 11:17 AM

The prosecutors said that the other person, who has been the accused in a lot of rumors, has been cleared by the grand jury. As far as I know, none of the rumors have pointed to John. So, it does not make sence to say that he has been indicted based on rumor and inuendo. It is a good thing that a change of venue has been granted. That alone will speak volumes about the final decision.

As far as all this banter about a seventeen year old not being capable..well think again. It seems to me that the problem from the beginning was that the investigation was never conducted properly. It is not an issue about whether he was clever enough to cover it up. That evidence will never be recovered. John was never even interviewed until much later. He should have been the first suspect.

Personally, there is nothing about his character that makes him shine. Not to say he is a murderer. He has not supported his family fianacially in years, I have heard him (what I would consider), verbally abuse his wife, he even left her once for someone he met on the internet! No, none of this makes him a murderer, but doubtful...yes.

-- Posted by skeptical on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 9:33 PM

I am not one to spend sleepless hours in front of the computer reading the rude and ridiculous comments that people write on these stories for the pleasure of hurting someones feelings or ticking someone off. But, in this case, I will state my opinion. Being of relation to Rick and Tonya I feel I have the right to state my opinion just as much, if not more, than the rest of you on here. I (personally) think this case is absolutely lacking in all aspects. For one, there is no proof that he was the person who murdered Rick and Tonya. Although I would love to see the person who committed these murders pay for it, I strongly believe that he should not be sitting behind bars if there is a chance that he is innocent. If the only evidence they have is a car, sounding like his, driving by around the time of the murders, that is sick and shameful to convict someone on those "thoughts". Like I said, I am family to Rick and Tonya, yet I still believe that ANY person, who does not have PROOF of murder, should be innocent until PROVEN guilty. Even though he posted bond, he is out of $200,000 to buy his family gifts for Christmas, and just think, he could be innocent. I, as well as all of you, have waited 20 years to see this case layed to rest but I would be just as willing to let them start over clean and find more evidence and wait 5 more years than to know they convicted the wrong person. There is more evidence to prove that is he innocent than guilty. Also, I am glad this case has been venued to Hendricks County, our Judge has taken enough rude comments to last him a lifetime! What do you expect a Judge to do with such pitiful 20-year old evidence and no proof???

-- Posted by sweetpea5 on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 10:51 AM

I cannot believe how so many people have made so many stupid comments....how could a 17 yr old do it....how could it go unsolved for so many years....he is such a nice man....he goes to church, blah blah blah. Do you live under a rock, do you not read the news to see this stuff happens everyday in this world. What makes you think it cannot happen in Brazil, and involve someone in your community, your neighbor, or a friend. Are you that naive to think it is not possible for lovers to quarrel over jealousy and one to end up dead....that a case can be corrupt and go in the wrong direction because of that and delay the findinga of the real killer..... that someone can go to church, only be hiding a dark secret and needing forgiveness.

To the people who are naive and live under a rock, and have made all of the "he is innocent" comments, I would have thought you were part of the investigation team, or on the grand jury and have all facts, but NOT! People you need to gather facts before becoming the judge and jury.

Lovin_sis, I know you are related and family will stick behind family whether innocent or quilt, but you need to be more considerate of the other families feelings looking for justice for their love ones.... Sure you are glad to have him home for the holidays but you need to be more sensitive to the families without their loved one, the mother who wakes up Christmas morning without the joy of opening presents with her daughter and/or her grandchildren she will never have. The sisters without the brother and the boys who doesn't get to spend Christmas with their father....... You also stated "the grand jury went off a lot of rumors and hear say how sad!" I correct you, they heard facts, and what YOU are going on is rumors and hear say. You did not read the investigation files and hear numerous testimonies like they did, so you need to take a back seat until all the facts come out in trial......People, think before you type your comments, both sides are struggling and going through a lot of pain, be sensitive to both sides not just one side, or keep your comments to yourself.

-- Posted by what_the_heck on Thu, Dec 25, 2008, at 12:34 PM


I must say, you admonish the people who say the man is innocent and are quick to say the Grand Jury got it right, but you have the undertones in your writing that you think he is guilty! If the Grand Jury got it right, then why is he home for Christmas? In my world if a suspected murderer has a huge amount of evidence against him he would still be behind bars!!!

-- Posted by saarein on Fri, Dec 26, 2008, at 1:17 AM

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Mon, Dec 29, 2008, at 12:04 PM

WOW, it's amazing how easy people are to judge. First let me say I'm glad John was able to get out for Christmas. Now luckily for everyone, the trial is only two months away so we can put to rest all the stupidness it has brought out. Now multiple comments have been made about a 17 year old being able to do this. Yes we hear teens killing all the time now a days. Now remember we're talking 20 years ago, it was very rare to hear a teen killing. Now we're talking about a teenage boy walking into a house killing not 1 but 2 people in cold blood, accurately at that. Now I find that hard to believe. So remember when your making your accusations, that this was in a different time. If you think about murders back then, the only case of teenage killings that got national attention came almost 1 year after the crime John is accused of. That was the murder case of the Mendez brothers, who killed there parents. So that murder was what the experts say changed things forever, opened a door to teenage killings. Mendez's said they were abused, sexually, physically and mentally, that was there motive. What's John's?? A rumored break up?? Think again people, we're barking up the wrong tree here, open your eyes.

-- Posted by doc69 on Tue, Dec 30, 2008, at 1:58 PM

The trial has been moved to June 1st.

-- Posted by skycirrus on Wed, Dec 31, 2008, at 5:21 PM

This is my first blog to the Brazil Times and I am astonished beyond the point of remarks regarding the case, therefore I am chosing not to administer my opinion on guilt or innonence.

Afterall, that is what a trial by a jury of one's peers sole responsibilty is in these matters. It is of no surprise the trial was moved to another county and by reading the blogs on every story regarding this case, it was the legally and politically correct thing to do.

Innocent until proven guilty seems to get lost in so many high-profile media cases these days and I am certain this is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they set the course of the judicial system so many years ago. It seems it is more like guilty until one may find expensive legal defense and connections to be proven innocent.

I understand that blogging is a popular thing to do and a way for many to vent their feelings of many sorts; however, gossiping over the fence and repeating exagerated or absolute plain untruths is just morally wrong. I myself, have been a victim of this practice over the years in this community and it has caused my family and other's close to me a great deal of heartache and stress. I personally am unaffected by things that are said about me as I know what is true and what is not...it is the people close to me I have had concern for and still do at times. Had I done half the things said about me I certainly would be a different person today. Perhaps making millions from my tell-all autobiography (which I may still write and call fiction) or the possibilty of being run out of town from the despicable, immoral, illegal, and down-right irrefutable damage I seemed to have caused to myself and countless others-most of whom I do not even know.

What I am trying to say is that everyone should think and maybe do a little research before making such bold statements regarding such a delicate matter. There are two families that are completely torn apart by this terrible and shocking case. To add insult to injury using these blogs, which seem to be for the most part uneducated, often-rude, and mostly untrue comments do nothing to help either family with their daily struggle with this horrific situation.

Tonya Pickett would have graduated with me and was a kind girl who was brutally murdered and justice should be served. But justice is only that when the accused is found without reasonable doubt to be guilty. I also know the Lovett family very well and they are a family of respectable and contributive members of this community.

I REMEMBER ALL OF THESE EVENTS- beginning 20 years ago up until this point. Out of respect, please chose your words with the thought that this is your very own family you are speaking of and what effect it would have on you if you were reading it. That being the case, I hope next time you are blogging you will keep this in mind and follow the guidelines the Brazil Times recommends.

Finally, you will notice I am signing this blog with my REAL AND ENTIRE NAME. In the past when the Times has published my letters to the editor I always received a call to verify my comments and my full name was always expected and put into print with the matter I choose to speak of as it still is in the hard copy of the publication. I find people making opinions and hiding behind an alias of some sort is pure coward and a sign of the writer's obtuse reaction to the subject at hand and can hardly be considered worthy of any type of consideration to other readers.

If you have anything to say to my comments I welcome you to not only do this ridiculous blogging but to also e-mail me at my home e-mail which is edlyndamags@verizon.net. Perhaps I am misunderstanding blogging...perhaps I am however, a human being with feelings just as those you love to comment on in these blogs. Last time I checked one of the most important rules to live by is, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you". My personal favorite though; "Those who live in glass houses..." Need I finish?

-- Posted by Lynda Hall-Brown on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 11:56 PM

To Lynda Hall Brown. Funny. You think blogging on here is "ridiculous" however It appears you have the most to say in "blog" funny how that works. You wasted alot of space saying nothing. Good day.

-- Posted by bigmama on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 12:00 AM

I have heard from family that there are a lot friends from my past as well as from Tonya's that asked about me, and has been wanting to have contact with me. I am giving an email address that I have set up for the sole purpose of anyone who would like to contact me.


May God with be all families involved through these tough times.


-- Posted by cpickett on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 7:48 AM

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