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Judge Denies Change Of Venue In Lincoln Pickett Case
Updated May 6, 2016 1:11 PM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins is denying Lincoln Pickett's public defender's request for a change of venue in the Lincoln Pickett case.

Pickett is charged with the murder of 29-year-old Kamie Ratcliff. He is accused of shooting and killing Ratcliff and then burning her body behind his home in the 3400 block of U.S.50 West in late January.

Chief Public Defender David Shircliff, who is representing Pickett, introduced more than 30 pieces of evidence at a hearing about the change of venue April 5 including news articles from the Times-Mail newspaper, and posts on the Facebook group "News Around the County." Shircliff believes Picket is unable to receive a fair trial because of public hostility against him, public outrage over the alleged offenses, prejudicial news reporting or editorializing which castigates him, speculative opinions as to his personality and character, disclosure of inadmissible evidence, or the existence of prior criminal records.

Judge Robbins ruled that the 'excitement' about these cases has already begun to subside and will have significantly subsided by the time of any trial," the court document reads.

He also stated, "It is additionally well settled that the mere possibility of prejudice or bias is not sufficient to entitle a defendant to a change of venue. Therefore, in order for a defendant to establish good cause for a discretionary change of venue, he must produce evidence of community bias or prejudice sufficient to convince the trial court that he cannot obtain a fair trial in this county."

The crime:

Ratcliff, of Mitchell, was reported missing in January.

Police say Lincoln Pickett and his wife Jasmine were the last to see Ratcliff.

On January 28, Indiana State Police found a body in a bon fire at the couple's home at 3414 U.S. 50 while serving a search warrant looking for evidence linked to Ratcliff's disappearance.
Lincoln admitted to police that he placed Ratcliff's body in the fire but originally denied that he had anything to do with her death. He has since been charged with her murder.

The couple told police at that time that Ratcliff "freaked out" in the couple's vehicle and shot herself. Since then Lincoln's sister informed police that he had admitted to shooting "a buddy in the face" after Ratcliff began hitting Lincoln in the head. She told police that she had not seen Lincoln for about six months, when suddenly he appeared at her home the morning of January 22. She told police he was driving his red Chevrolet Blazer.

"Lincoln claimed he had not slept or ate in two weeks, and he was pacing and bouncing," according to the probable cause affidavit.

She told police Lincoln had a "Taurus gun in his pocket." Lincoln then allegedly gave the gun to his sister. Lincoln then asked his relative to borrow a vehicle. That is when the two drove to Lincoln's house. On the way they stopped at a gas station. While parked in the lot, Lincoln's sister told police that she saw blood splattered on the driver's side rear window of the Blazer.
Once at the Pickett home, Lincoln allegedly backed the Blazer into the garage.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on January 24, Mitchell Police Officer Matt England went to the Pickett home to talk to them about Ratcliff's disappearance. Lincoln told police that Ratcliff could be in Ellettsville with a man named Dillon.

Then on January 25, Officer England returned to the Pickett home and the couple told him they had left to go to Walmart to buy diapers and formula and when they returned Ratcliff was gone.
On January 28, police returned to the home with a warrant to search for Ratcliff's belongings. When officers arrived there was a fire burning behind the home. "Within the fire, officers located what appeared to be bones," the affidavit states.

According to the Lawrence County Police log, at 2:42 p.m. officers requested Huron Volunteer Fire Department to the Pickett home to extinguish a small bonfire.

Officers then secured a search warrant for Pickett's home. Inside they found a loaded handgun under a mattress and three long guns.

Pickett is being charged with Ratcliff's murder, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent offender, obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, two counts of false informing and failure to report a dead body. Because of the additional charge of murder, Lincoln Pickett is being held without bond.

Pickett appeared before Judge Robbins on February 5 by video conference. At that time Judge Robbins entered a plea of not guilty and appointed him a public defender.

Jasmine appeared in court on February 11 on charges of charges of aiding, inducing or causing abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice, false informing and failure to report a dead body. Lawrence County Superior Court I Judges Michael Robbins entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and appointed her a public defender.

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