Court proceedings in a double murder trial have ground to a halt as Hendricks County court officials await a decision on admissible evidence.
On March 19, 2008, John Lovett, 39, Brazil, was formally indicted on two counts of murder by a grand jury for his alleged involvement in the 1988 gun-shot deaths of his then-girlfriend Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32.
In June 2008, special prosecutors Delbert Brewer and David Powell, along with defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Dorie Hertzel, filed joint approval for a change of venue and jury selection procedures to take place in Hendricks County because the case was a "source of great controversy, rumor, gossip and innuendo" in the community.
In October 2008, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout ruled the evidentiary review process indicated the state's circumstantially based evidence in the case was not sufficient enough to prevent Lovett from receiving bail, which was established earlier in April. Trout ordered a $200,000 cash bond with no 10 percent in the case.
On Dec. 17, 2008, Lovett posted bond and waited for further court proceedings and a trial date that was scheduled for Feb. 23, 2009.
However, both the prosecution and the defense have kept busy with legal filings throughout 2009, with new paperwork filed in the case nearly every month.
In August 2009, a pre-trial motion to appeal filed by defense counsel in Hendrix County Superior Court Division 1 regarding the admissibility/certification of "certain evidence" the prosecution plans to use during the trial has become an issue.
Superior Court Judge Robert Freese's office confirmed further trial proceedings are stayed until the appeals process is resolved.