Anthony Baumgardt, the man accused of killing Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Pickett, is expected to change his plea on murder charges to guilty and be sentenced in a hearing scheduled for May 29.
“We are set for a guilty plea and a sentencing hearing for that day,” Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said. “The plea agreement has not been filed. It will be filed the day of.”
Pickett was originally from Brownsburg, but resided in Zionsville at the time of his death.
Baumgardt, 21, is facing eight charges including murder, possession of methamphetamine, resisting law enforcement and carrying a handgun without a license and as a felon.
Pickett was killed in March of 2018 as Boone County and Lebanon police chased Baumgardt, John Ball and John Baldwin II. Baumgardt was shot and wounded by police to end the chase.
Former Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer filed court papers seeking the death penalty for Baumgardt. The case was delayed several times with the last date scheduled for a jury trial in August of 2020. According to court filings, Baumgardt’s lawyers had scheduled a change of venue hearing May 25, but it was recently canceled and the change of plea hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. May 29.
Eastwood said he couldn’t comment any more on the hearing.
“It would be improper to make any comments until after he has pleaded guilty and sentenced,” Eastwood added.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said he has been in communication with the prosecutor’s office and the Pickett family.
“This is something I’ve had many conversations with family members, as well as folks within my department,” Nielsen said. “There is a lot of thought and communication between the family and I and the family and the prosecutor’s office.”
Baumgardt, from Lebanon, has publicly admitted to killing Pickett. On his way into the Boone County Courthouse for his initial trial in 2018, Baumgardt said to the gathered press “I’m not sorry," and that he had "no remorse." During the trial, Baumgardt asked if he could enter a guilty plea and asked for the death penalty.
The change of plea hearing is scheduled a little over a week after National Police Week of May 13-15 in Washington, D.C., where Pickett’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial which honors federal, state and local officers who died in the line of duty. Several of Pickett’s family members and Boone County deputies will be in attendance.
The other two suspects still have trials pending. Ball has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 13 after being rescheduled three times. He is facing six charges, including felony murder. Eastwood says the case is in discovery and ongoing, but likely to be delayed even further.
“Like any other murder case, it’s going to take two years to get to trial,” Eastwood said. “That case is on pace to where it should be.”
Baldwin faces 10 charges, including felony murder. His trial is currently scheduled for July, but Eastwood says that is highly unlikely because of some recent developments.
“His attorney has filed a motion to be withdrawn from the case,” Eastwood said. “From that perspective, I don’t really know where we are with the case.”
Gus Pearcy writes for The Lebanon Reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.