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Jasmine Pickett Pleads Guilty To Her Part In The Murder Of Kami Ratcliff

Last updated on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

(BEDFORD) - Jasmine Pickett pleads guilty to aiding, inducing or causing abuse to a corpse and failure to report a dead body in the murder of Kami Ratcliff.

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Jasmine Pickett

Pickett entered the negotiated plea deal on December 6th in Lawrence County Superior Court II.

A charge of obstruction justice and false informing were dismissed.

Judge John Plummer lll sentenced Pickett to two years in prison. She received 5 days of credit time and Judge Plummer lll suspended one year and 355 days of the sentence.

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Lincoln Pickett

A Lawrence County Superior Court II jury found her former husband Lincoln Pickett guilty of killing 29-year-old Kami Ratcliff on Jan. 21, 2016 in the back seat of his red Blazer after an argument. He then waited a week before burning her body in a burn pit at his home at 3413 US 50 West.

He was also found guilty of obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, false informing and failure to report a dead body.

Jasmine Pickett agreed to testify truthfully during his trial in exchange for a plea deal.

During closing arguments, Prosecutor Michelle Woodward laid out a timeline of events leading up to the murder.

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Kami Ratcliff

She told the jury that events began to unfold on Jan. 21, 2016 when Ed Brashear became concerned when his ex-wife and mother of his children, Kami Ratcliff, failed to call their children or show up for scheduled weekend visits.

Brashear testified that Kami called at least twice a day to talk to the couple's three children. When he had not heard from her and couldn't reach her Brashear contacted Ratcliff's family members putting the wheels in motion to try and located Kami.

On Jan. 18th, Lincoln picked up Kami and Jenna, her then 9-month-old daughter, to stay a few days at the Pickett home on US 50 West.

On Jan. 20th, There was a fight between Kami and Lincoln, when Kami belched in Lincoln's face. The fight happened in Jasmine Pickett and Lincoln's bedroom. Jasmine then got between the two when the fight became physical. Jasmine also testified that Lincoln pushed Kami several times and when she got between them he hit her. He then pulled out a gun and pistol-whipped her, cutting her head.

The fight woke up Jasmine and Lincoln's three children. Jasmine then went to comfort them and noticed blood on her head.

On Jan. 21, Jasmine got up with the kids and put them on the school bus.

That afternoon Kami then decided she wanted to go home. Kami and Jasmine changed clothes, put on their makeup and gathered Kami's belongings. As they were getting ready to leave, Lincoln said he forgot something and went back into the mobile home, but returned with no visible item. Lincoln drove, with Jasmine in the front passenger seat. Jenna was in the back seat in a car seat behind Lincoln and Kami was in the rear passenger seat behind Jasmine in the couple's red Blazer.

Kami decided that she didn't want to go to the home of David Burton Jr. but wanted to go to the home of a man known as "Cowboy." Lincoln said he didn't want to take her there. The two then got into a verbal argument and Kami began yelling about criminal confinement and people going to jail.

The fight intensified and a motorist called the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department to report an erratic driver in a red Blazer. The caller said the driver was veering all over the road, passing vehicles in turn lanes and running a red light at the intersection of US 50 and State Road 37.

Kami decided to have Lincoln to take her to her mother's home but said that once they were there that Lincoln and Jasmine would go to jail for criminal confinement.

Jasmine told Kami that she didn't care what happened to Lincoln, but that she had done nothing to go to jail. This made Lincoln mad, so he punched Jasmine in the face, dislocating her jaw and causing her to pass out.

When she regained consciousness, she heard a 'pow' that caused her ears to ring. She asked Lincoln what the sound was and he replied "Oh God" and he looked scared. Lincoln told Jasmine to put her head down in the front seat and Jasmine followed his instruction and heard gurgling from the backseat.

Lincoln then rushed home and backed the Blazer into the garage and handed Jasmine baby Jenna.

On Jan. 22. Lincoln traveled to Loogootee in the red Blazer to visit his sister, Allanya O'Neal. Pickett told O'Neal that he shot a cat, then changed to the story saying he shot a buddy. He changed the story yet again, admitting that he shot a girl in the face. He then borrowed a vehicle from O'Neal and her boyfriend, Mel Rousch.

On the way back to Mitchell, he stopped at a gas station to put fuel in the borrowed vehicle. While there, O'Neal noticed blood splatter on the back windows of the Blazer and asked Lincoln about it. Lincoln told her that it was from a deer.

Later that night, Jasmine called Kami's parents, Kathy and Rodney Riggle, to come to pick up Jenna. They told the couple that they didn't know where Kami was.

On Jan. 23, Rodney Riggle went back to the Pickett's mobile home to again asked about Kami's whereabouts. The Picketts told Rodney that Lincoln gave Kami money to purchase diapers and formula and she went to Walmart and that she never returned.

On Jan. 25, Mitchell Police officer Matt England visited the Pickett's home and they told him the same story that Kami went to Walmart and never returned.

On Jan. 28th Indiana State Police secured a search warrant for the Pickett home and found Kami's backpack in a shed. They also discovered blood in the Blazer and found Kami's bones in a fire in a burn pit. Both Jasmine and Lincoln were then arrested.

Public Defender Joseph Lozano told the jury that they could not convict Lincoln on suspicion or speculation.

"I told you at the beginning of this trial you would not like Lincoln Pickett," he said. "He cheats on his wife... there are a lot of things about Lincoln that are despicable. He is guilty of counts 2 through 5, that is not in dispute, but he is not guilty of murder."

Lozano told the jury that there were a lot of inconsistent stories told during this trial. He said O'Neal didn't tell police anything about Lincoln killing anyone until she was arrested on an outstanding warrant and that she got a deal to make that warrant go away.

He also says that if anyone had a reason to kill Kami it was Jasmine.

"This all happened around their wedding anniversary and she had to share it with her husband's girlfriend," he added.

Lozano says the police had Lincoln pinned for this crime before looking at all the evidence.

Lozano says Lincoln and his sister's relationship was rocky, but she never once called the police to report seeing blood splatter on the window or say that he had killed a woman - that is not until she was arrested and could use her story "as a bargaining chip."

He also claims that if Jasmine suffered injuries from Lincoln as she claims Matt England never noted those injuries in any of his reports or noticed them when he spoke with Jasmine and Rodney Riggle. He also never testified about seeing any injuries when he visited the Pickett home the day following Kami's alleged murder.

Lozano also questioned why police didn't examine the damaged headliner in the Blazer.

"They didn't it test if, like they did the windshield," Lorzano says. "If Kami had committed suicide the bullet strike would have been there... but that's not what they wanted to present..."

Lozano says if jurors listened to ISP Sgt. Dean Marks, who testified about the blood splatter, it was "physically impossible" for Lincoln to have shot Kami.

"It is more likely that Jasmine or Kami did it to herself," he added. "There was not one drop of blood in that driver's seat... how could he reach around and shot someone and there be no blood."

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