Two more men charged with murder in Deputy Jacob Pickett's death

Hearing for suspect in deputy's death
New charges in Pickett case
Two more men charged in Deputy Pickett murder
Two more men charged in Deputy Pickett murder
2 more charged in Deputy Pickett's shooting death
Two more charged in Pickett murder

LEBANON, Ind. (WTHR) — New court documents are giving us much more insight about exactly what happened the day Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Pickett was shot and killed and why prosecutors say two more men played a role in Pickett's death.

The Boone County Prosecutor's Office announced the new charges against John Austin Ball and John D. Baldwin Jr. Wednesday afternoon. The men have also been charged with drug offenses and resisting law enforcement.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen issued this statement Wednesday night, saying:

"Today, we are one step closer to seeing total justice for Jake. Many dedicated hours have been spent on this investigation by several agencies. I want to thank them and the prosecutor's office for their hard work. I personally read the murder warrant to John Ball tonight and will read the murder warrant tomorrow to John Baldwin Jr. The investigation will continue until justice is served for Jake."

Justice Sheriff Nielsen wants for Deputy Pickett, his wife and two children, and a community still mourning the deputy's loss.

Pickett's murder was the tragic result of what investigators say started with a conspiracy to deal meth between alleged triggerman Anthony Baumgardt, along with Ball and Baldwin.

"I don't look at it as we have a few meth heads. This is a pandemic," said JoAnne Newton who lives at the apartment complex where prosecutors say Baumgardt shot Deputy Pickett after bailing out of a car during a high-speed chase.

"What I seen I gave to God. I had to," said Newtown about that day.

In two dozen pages of court documents released Wednesday, investigators detailed that chase they say started with police trying to serve a warrant at Ball's mobile home on Yates Road in Lebanon.

Police say Baldwin was behind the wheel of the car in the driveway there after he and Baumgardt got meth from Ball that they were planning to sell.

When police showed up, investigators say Baldwin took off with Baumgardt in the front passenger seat, leading police past the elementary and middle schools and through the parking lot of the high school.

At some point, Baumgardt jumped out of the vehicle with Deputy Pickett chasing him on foot. Seconds later, police say Baumgardt shot Pickett three times.

Text messages between Ball and a friend detailed in court papers show Baumgardt got the gun used to kill Deputy Pickett from Ball.

The friend asks Ball, "You doing alright bub?"

Ball answers, "Ehh, I've been better. Blaming myself a lot."

The friend tries to tell Ball he's not to blame and that Baumgardt "already had his mind made up that he was gonna shoot him no matter what."

"I didn't have to buy him a gun," Ball replies.

Ball is already behind bars in the Boone County Jail.

According to records for the Department of Correction, Baldwin is in the Plainfield Correctional Facility.