September 2018: Lincoln Pickett Found Guilty of Murdering Kamie Ratcliff, Bedford Man Arrested in Connection in Toddler’s Death, Seymour Man Arrested on Murder Charges

In September 2018 a Seymour man was arrested for the murder of 19-year-old Emma Jean Jamison, a former Indiana State Police evidence clerk was arrested on Level 5 felony theft charges, the Indiana Association of School Principals recognized Loogootee Middle School Principal Lacey Wade as District 11 Middle School Principal of the Year, and BNL Homecoming royalty was crowned.

Also in September, Jessie Phillips was arrested after the death of an 18-month-old boy. Callie Blais was named 2018 Persimmon Festival Queen, and a Lawrence County Superior Court II jury found Lincoln Pickett guilty of killing 29-year-old Kamie Ratcliff, and Daviess County Superior Judge Dean Sobecki sentenced 55-year-old Mark Jones to 25 years in prison with 5 years suspended in the murder of 67-year-old David Duncan.
Seymour Man Arrested On Murder Charge
Jackson County police arrested a Seymour man for the murder of Emma Jean Jamison.
Sheriff Michael Carothers says 44-year-old Brian Michael Cogdill was arrested without incident at a home off U.S. 31 in the 10000 block of East County Road 800 N north of Seymour.
Police say Cogdill brutally beat his 19-year-old fiancee Emma Jean Jamison to death on September 7th.
Sheriff Carothers says the murder happened at a home near the East Fork White River south of the Indiana American Water Company.
Cogdill was arrested on Sept. 10th, three days after Jamison died at Schneck Medical Center.
According to court records, Jamison suffered a laceration to her head that incapacitated her, a broken jaw and bruising all over her body. Dr. Thomsa Sozio, a forensic pathologist, described her injuries as “brutal.” He told police that the head injury would have not allowed Jamison to walk after receiving it.
During interviews, Cogdill gave police several reasons on why he beat Jamison ranging from the fact that she was having an affair, using drugs and she allegedly stole $300 that he had saved to purchase new dentures.
Officers were called to the home on Sept. 6 after a report that Jamison had overdosed. Cogdill then told police that Jamison had left the home after the two had gotten into an argument and returned home with the injuries. He told police he believed the person selling her drugs had harmed her.
Police say that Cogdill’s right hand was swollen, making them believe he had injured Jamison.
Cogdill was booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and is being held without bond. A jury trial is scheduled for March 5, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in Jackson Circuit Court.
Former Evidence Clerk Arrested On Level 5 Felony Theft Charges
A routine audit of the evidence inventory at the Indiana State Police Bloomington Post launched a criminal investigation in late September of 2017 after money that was seized or recovered from investigations was determined to be missing from the evidence storage area.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of former ISP Evidence Clerk, 55-year-old Vera Gardner of Bloomington after a warrant was issued through the Monroe County Circuit Court.
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As part of the investigation, state police detectives determined what personnel, of which there were four, had access to stored evidence. Each of these department members was questioned as part of the investigation and information was developed that exonerated all but one of the employees. This information was later presented to the Monroe County Prosecutor and resulted in the issuance of the warrant to arrest Vera Gardner for the allegation of Level 5 Felony theft.
Gardner had been employed by the Indiana State Police since April 18, 1994. During the last 13 years, Gardner had worked as the Evidence Clerk at the Bloomington Post where she managed various items of evidence seized or recovered by Indiana State Police Officers.
On July 18, 2017, Gardner left her full-time employment position as the Evidence Clerk and was placed on medical leave.
Prior to this investigation, Gardner had no prior disciplinary record.
After being booked into the Monroe County Jail she posted bond and was released. A pretrial is scheduled for Jan. 22 at 10 in Monroe Circuit Court 9.
Lacey Wade Named District 11 Middle School Principal Of The Year
The Indiana Association of School Principals recognized Loogootee Middle School Principal Lacey Wade as District 11 Middle School Principal of the Year.
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(Principal Lacy Wade is the woman on the right)
Wade was honored at the Indiana Association of School Principals Fall Conference in Indianapolis in November.
BNL Homecoming Royalty Crowned
Bedford North Lawrence crowned homecoming royalty.
Jorie Allen was crowned homecoming queen with Nate Porter crowned homecoming king.
Man Arrested After Toddler’s Death
On September 15th at 8:57 a.m. Lawrence County Central Dispatch received a 911 call regarding an unresponsive 18 month-old child at a home in the 1900 block of Old Vincennes Road.
Deputies from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, Huron Volunteer Fire Department first responders, and an AMR ambulance crew arrived to provide care.
The male child was determined to be deceased upon arrival.
Detectives, the coroner, and Indiana State Police crime scene experts were called to the scene to begin the death investigation.
A post-mortem examination was conducted the following day. The child died from an acute subdural hemorrhage of the brain, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
Over the course of four days, Detective Sergeant Tyler Philips led the investigation, with the assistance of detectives, Department of Child Services, Indiana State Police crime scene investigators, the Lawrence County Coroner’s Office, and the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office.
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On Tuesday, September 17th at approximately 7 p.m. the boyfriend of the child’s mother, 29-year-old Jessie D. Phillips, of Mitchell, was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated battery resulting in the death of a child under 14 years of age. He is being held on a $200,000 bond.
A jury trial is set for March 5th at 9 a.m. in Lawrence County Superior Court II.
Callie Blais Named 2018 Persimmon Festival Queen
Callie Blais was crowned the 2018 Persimmon Festival Queen.
Congratulations to Callie and her court.
Lincoln Pickett Found Guilty Of Murder
On September 25th a Lawrence County Superior Court II jury found Lincoln Pickett guilty of killing 29-year-old Kamie 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.
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He was also found guilty of obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse, false informing, and failure to report a dead body.
It took the jury around 11 hours to reach their verdict. The next morning they found Pickett guilty of a charge of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
During closing arguments, Prosecutor Michelle Woodward laid out a timeline of events leading up to the murder.
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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, Kamie Ratcliff, failed to call their children or show up for a scheduled weekend visits.
Brashear testified that Kamie 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 Kamie 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 Kamie and Lincoln, when Kamie 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 Kamie 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.
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On Jan. 21, Jasmine got up with the kids and put them on the school bus.
That afternoon Kamie then decided she wanted to go home. Kami and Jasmine changed clothes, put on their makeup, and gathered Kamie’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.
Kamie 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 Kamie 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.
Kamie decided to have Lincoln 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 Kamie 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 Kamie’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 ask 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 Kamie went to Walmart and never returned.
On Jan. 28th Indiana State Police secured a search warrant for the Pickett home and found Kamie’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 Kamie 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 Kamie’s alleged murder.
Lozano also questioned why police didn’t examine the damaged headliner in the Blazer.
“They didn’t it test it, like they did the windshield,” Lozano says. “If Kamie 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 Kamie.
“It is more likely that Jasmine or Kamie 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.”
Mark Jones Sentenced To 25 Years In Murder Of David Duncan
Daviess County Superior Judge Dean Sobecki sentenced 55-year-old Mark Jones to 25 years in prison with 5 years suspended in the murder of 67-year-old David Duncan.
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Jones pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in July.
According to police, Jones shot and killed Duncan after an argument in June 2017 at Jones’ home on County Road 350 West and 475 South. Jones called police saying a man came to his home and he had shot the intruder.
According to Chief Deputy Gary Allison, Duncan, of Washington, went there to retrieve some property after filing for divorce from his wife who was now living with Jones. Police say Duncan’s estranged wife of three years was not at the home during the incident.
An argument ensued between the two men and shots were fired. Police say both Jones and Duncan were armed with guns. Duncan was hit in the chest and stomach and was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Jones was charged with Duncan’s murder.
Jones received credit for 479 days served and given 159 days of credit time. He is eligible for a sentence modification in 4 years.