Thursday, May 15, 2008

Judge Joe Trout Revokes John Lovett's Bail Previously Set In Double Homicide Case Involving Tonya Pickett and Ricky Mustard - by Legal Pub


A Clay Circuit Court judge did something really rare; he admitted that he made a mistake. Judge Trout rescinded bond for John Lovett who is charged with a double homicide committed in 1988. Lovett Judge Joe Trout voluntarily turned himself in to authorities at Clay County Sheriff's Department Monday after his previous bond was rescinded. Lovett was originally arrested in March. He was released in April after posting 10 percent of a $200,000 bond. John Lovett, 37, is now back in jail pending an evidentiary hearing.


Lovett is charged with the 1988 double homicide of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather, Ricky Mustard, 32. Judge Joe Trout told The Brazil Times Monday that after extensive research, he concluded that an evidentiary hearing needs to take place before bail is set. An evidentiary hearing allows a defendant the opportunity to present evidence and challenge the prosecution's evidence. Since no such hearing took place, the previous bond was inappropriate. Consequently, the bond was revoked and Lovett was ordered back in jail. Lovett turned himself in to Indiana State Police Det. Troy Stanton Monday afternoon. Trout said Lovett turned himself in and cooperated. The new warrant ordered Lovett be held without bail pending the evidentiary hearing. Special prosecutors on this case are David Powell and Delbert Brewer. Lovett is currently represented by James Organ, a public defender. However, Lovett will soon be represented by private counsel.


Lovett is to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. Folks, this is a real cold case and the prosecution's 20 year in bringing this case may be evidence of just how weak their case against Lovett may be...
Update 4-30-10: What has happened? Currently there is a bit of a delay in the preliminaries as we await a double murder trial. Currently the matter is up to a Hendricks County court to make evidentiary rulings as to what evidence will be admissible. By history, on March 19, 2008, John Lovett, was formally indicted on two counts of murder by a grand jury. At issue is the 1988 gun-shot deaths of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32. In June 2008, special prosecutors Delbert Brewer and David Powell together with defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Dorie Hertzel, filed for change of venue and jury selection in Hendricks County. This was to avoid "... great controversy, rumor, gossip and innuendo" in the community.

In October 2008, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout set bail for $200,000 as the state's circumstantially based evidence was not sufficient enough to prevent bail. (Bail was officially declared in April.) On Dec. 17, 2008, Lovett posted bond. A trial date that was scheduled for Feb. 23, 2009. In August 2009, defense counsel filed a motion to appeal certain evidentiary rulings in Hendrix County Superior Court Division 1. Superior Court Judge Robert Freese has stayed the trial until the evidentiary issues are resolved. In the mean time, Lovett remains free on bond and is presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law!

17 comments:

Joel A. Brodsky said...

I don’t know the specific law on bonds in Indiana, but normally a bond hearing is done by the attorneys making representations (proffers) to the judge based on the police reports and, in the case of the defendant, interviews with the defendant. The only time there is an evidentiary hearing is when the state is seeking a “no-bond” order on the defendant, and even in those circumstances the police reports are usually reviewed by the judge rather than subjecting the police officers to cross-examination.
From what LP has posted here, it seems to me that the judge had second thoughts on his bond order, (perhaps after public pressure or outcry), and was looking for a way to back out of his pervious order. What makes this really unusual is that the judge seems to have done it sua sponte (on his own motion). Normally, the state would make a motion for the judge to reconsider. Why a judge would act sua sponte (if he in fact did) is a question I would like answered.
I don’t know what the evidence is in this 20 year old homicide, however it seems to me that unless there is something earthshaking (confession, DNA, etc.), these very old cases should never be brought. It is unfair to the defense to have to defend a case where witnesses are dead, moved, or elderly, and everyones memory is extremely faded.

Ms Calabaza said...

This sounds like good news for a change. It's nice to see this judge taking this guy's individual rights very seriously.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joel. Your insight around here is really appreciated!


Holly

Anonymous said...

Joel is an alright guy after all!

Anonymous said...

Lovett is innocent as the day is long. Its been over 20 years. What has changed? Nothing. Move on and let this man go.



Nancy

Anonymous said...

This is a cold case...

but then again, it was a cold double homocide.

Anonymous said...

This suspect/defendant needs some support from Legal PUb. Can't be a great case if it is 20+ years old!

Anonymous said...

Is it unreasonable to believe, since this is a Grand Jury indictment, that there must be some solid evidence against Lovett?

Also, something peculiar, is that the original investigator on this case was or perhaps still is being prosecuted for concealing evidence and some other charges stemming from twenty years ago. His name is Roger Lindsay. There are articles in the Brazil Times. They are vague and then they just stop reporting on it. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Prosecuting Lovett after 20 years smells fishy. What new evidence could the grand jury possibly have that changed 20 years of thinking no charges?

Anonymous said...

No one ever said he was never suspected all of these years. The victims' mom and wife has been quoted as saying she suspected him for a long time and as a result left town years ago. What evidence could the grand jury possibly have? Obviously enough to indict him.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy it. Grand jurys indict often because they think that is what they are suppose to do. Why else would they be called together mentality...


I think this is a real weak case and there are other "suspects" out there.

Anonymous said...

who?

Anonymous said...

Over the years their have been other persons of interest!

Legal Pub said...

Update 4-30-10: What has happened? Currently there is a bit of a delay in the preliminaries as we await a double murder trial. Currently the matter is up to a Hendricks County court to make evidentiary rulings as to what evidence will be admissible. By history, on March 19, 2008, John Lovett, was formally indicted on two counts of murder by a grand jury.

Anonymous said...

there are still those of us out here who miss tonya daily. please, she deserves to get justice for a bright life cut much too short.

Anonymous said...

True, but tonya would not want an innocent man to unjustly pay for a crime he did not commit.

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