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Sister Testifies Pickett Admitted To "Shooting Woman"
Updated September 17, 2018 7:44 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - A jury of 12 men and woman and four alternates began hearing testimony this morning in the trial of Lincoln Pickett.

Lawrence County Superior Court II Judge William Sleva is presiding over the case. Public defender Joseph Lozano is representing Pickett and Prosecutor Michelle Woodward is presenting the case for the state.

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Pickett, 36, of Mitchell, is charged with murder; obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, two counts of false informing and failure to report a dead body.

During opening statements Woodward told jurors Pickett shot 29-year-old Kamie Ratcliff and then burned her body on his property at 3413 U.S. 50 West. He lied to police about what happened.

Woodward says Pickett got mad at Ratcliff after she threatened to call the police.

Woodward says Pickett and his then-wife Jasmine picked Ratcliff up from Mitchell on January 21, 2016. During the drive back to Pickett's home, he and Ratcliff got into an argument. Ratcliff threatened the two saying "you guys are going to jail" for criminal confinement.

Jasmine replied that she didn't care what Ratcliff did to Lincoln, but she didn't do anything wrong.

Pickett then got mad at Jasmine and punched her in the jaw causing her to pass out. When she came to, she heard a "pow" and Kami gurgling in the back seat.

Woodward says the murder was committed in front of Kami's 9-month old daughter Jenna Ratcliff-Burton.

Pickett then drove home and kept Kami's body in his red Blazer for more than a week.

Public defender Joseph Lozano told the jury they didn't need to worry about finding Pickett guilty of obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, false informing and failure to report a dead body saying Pickett was guilty of those charges. But he was not guilty of murder.

Lozano says police had their minds made up that Lincoln had killed Kami before investigating the facts.

"This got personal," he added. "They looked for things that fit their theory."

At the time of Pickett's arrest, Pickett told police Ratcliff shot herself on January 21. He told police he, his wife Jasmine and Ratcliff were all in the vehicle when Ratcliff held the gun to her head and fired it.

After the shooting, Lincoln parked his vehicle in his garage with Ratcliff's body still inside. Then on January 28, he put Kami's body in the fire burning behind his house.

Jasmine backed up Lincoln's story at the time of her arrest.

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Kami goes missing

After family members didn't hear from Kami, they filed a missing person report on January 24th at the Mitchell Police Department.

Both Mitchell Police and Indiana State Police visited the Pickett home and both received different stories on what happened to Kami.

At first the Picketts told police they went to Walmart and when they came home Kami was gone. They then told police Kami had gone to Walmart and never returned, leaving Jenna behind.

Indiana State Police Detective Michael Robbins testified that on January 28th, police executed a search warrant at Pickett's home.

When police arrived, Detective Robbins says Jasmine was standing in the driveway and seemed nervous, scared and anxious when she spoke to the officers. Pickett pulled up from the rear of the property on a 4-wheeler.

While officers were searching the home, Detective Robbins walked behind the Pickett's trailer and discovered the red Blazer stuck on a hillside and a bonfire burning. When police approached the fire one poked around in it with a stick and discovered human bones. They also found a large amount of blood in the Blazer.

Police found what they believe was the murder weapon between the mattresses in Lincoln's bedroom and found a backpack with a broken cell phone and Kami's identification hidden at Lincoln Pickett's mother's home in a closet.

Both Lincoln and Jasmine were arrested.

Lincoln's sister, Allayna O'Neal, testified that Lincoln confessed to her that he had killed a woman.

O'Neal says Lincoln drove his red Blazer to her home in Loogootee on Jan. 22 around 10:10 a.m. wanting to borrow one of her and her boyfriend's Mel Roush's vehicles.

While at O'Neal's home, she says Lincoln was acting "odd, nervous... he was pacing around."

O'Neal testified that Lincoln showed her a small stub-nosed revolver.

He then told her he had shot a cat in the face. The story then changed with Lincoln telling her "he had shot a buddy in the face" to "he shot a girl."

"I kept saying what, what happened, who do you mean. He told me that he was in the driver's seat and Jasmine was in the front passenger seat and the girl was in the back seat," O'Neal testified. "He said all of a sudden she (Kami) began yelling something about criminal confinement and punching him in the back of the head. He said he veered the truck side to side four times and then reached back and shot her. I just kept saying 'Oh my God' and pulled my knees to my chest. He told me to not freak out sis and I believe he was half a heartbeat from shooting me."

That is when Roush arrived home and he and Lincoln went into the backyard to shoot guns. Police later gathered the spent cartridges from those guns.

The three then left for Lincoln's home. Lincoln was driving his Blazer, Roush the Subaru, and O'Neal in Mel's pickup truck. The three stopped at a gas station in Loogootee to in the Subaru they were going to let Lincoln borrow.

While at the gas station, Lincoln asked his sister to go inside the gas station and buy him cigarettes. When she returned to give them to Lincoln, she noticed blood-splatter on the inside windows of the Blazer.

When they arrived at Pickett's home they stayed about 15 to 20 minutes and O'Neal says Jenna was at the Pickett home.

Also testifying was Kami's ex-husband Ed Brashear, who says it was unlike Kami not to call every day to speak to her three other children that they shared joint custody and unlike her to miss visitation. He testified that he attempted to contact Kami several times and her family attempting to find her. He also says he insisted the family file a missing person's report.

Kami's step-father Rodney Riggles says he and his wife stopped several times at the Pickett home to see if they knew where Kami was. Each time both Lincoln and Jasmine said they didn't.

Then on Jan. 22, 2016, Kathy Riggle, Kami's mother, received a call from Jasmine requesting she come and pick up Jenna from their home. Jenna has lived with the Riggles since Kami's murder.

Testimony will resume on Monday at 9 a.m.

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