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Defense Seeking To Free Lincoln Pickett
Updated August 11, 2016 1:22 PM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - Chief Public Defender David Shircliff is seeking the release of 34-year-old Lincoln Pickett, who has been in jail since his arrest on February 1 for the murder of 29-year-old Kamie Ratcliff.

Shircliff is asking Lawrence Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins to release Pickett from jail, citing an Indiana criminal rule about Pickett's right to a speedy trial.

Pickett is facing charges of murder, obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, two counts of false informing and failure to report a dead body.

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 and lying to police about what happened.

On July 26, Robbins scheduled the trial to start October 3. Then, prosecutor Michelle Woodward filed to start the trial on September 8.

But because six months passed as of August 3, Shircliff says Pickett's rights to a speedy trail are being violated according to Indiana Criminal Rule 4(A).

If the state doesn't bring a defendant to trial within six months, the court has to release them.

According to court records, Shircliff filed an emergency motion for release under the same rule about Pickett's right to a speedy trial on August 4. Judge Robbins denied that motion on August 5.

On Monday, Shircliff filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus and renewed motion for release from custody.

A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring an inmate to court to determine if the person's imprisonment or detention is lawful.

If Pickett is not released, Shircliff could use this to file an appeal at a later date.

"We believe that's the case," Shircliff said. "We only have a couple of remedies. The court has not released him and probably will not release him, so we're just doing everything we can to preserve our record for appeal."

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 charged with Ratcliff's murder and 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. She is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial conference on October 12 at 1 p.m.

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