Plea deal drops murder count, adds gun charge for suspect charged in death of Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett
LEBANON, Ind. — One of the three men charged in the shooting death of Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett pleaded guilty Friday.
Prosecutors say 23-year-old John Ball agreed to a plea deal that included seven different charges. Prosecutors filed one of those charges on the day of the hearing; it was related to the gun used in Pickett’s shooting death.
Prosecutors argued that John Ball gave Anthony Baumgardt the weapon prior to the shooting with knowledge that Baumgardt was not eligible to buy one.
“It was something we knew all along that he did,” says Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood. “We didn’t know if we could prove it for sure with the evidence we had.”
Baumgardt pleaded guilty to shooting the deputy. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The other six charges in Ball’s plea agreement were related to drugs and drug paraphernalia. Prosecutors say Ball “fronted” more than 20 grams of methamphetamine to Anthony Baumgardt and John Baldwin Jr. prior to the shooting.
Ball was initially charged with murder, but prosecutors dropped the charge as part of the plea agreement.
“This plea agreement accomplishes a lot of things for us,” says Eastwood. “One thing, it assures there are no appeals in this case. It brings finality to this case and allows us to argue for a sentence which is substantially consistent with a murder sentence.”
Eastwood says the guilty plea can bring a maximum sentence of 52 and a half years.
The judge will make the final sentencing decision.
“I am happy with the outcome. There is no satisfaction in this case ever. Right now, we’re doing what we can to help the Pickett family, help the boys and help this community heal,” Eastwood says.
His office will now turn its attention to the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Dec. 11.