March 7


Boone County prosecutor 'leaning' toward seeking death penalty against Deputy Pickett's suspected shooter

The Boone County prosecutor has filed murder, drug and gun charges against 21-year-old Anthony Baumgardt, the Lebanon man accused of killing Sheriffs Deputy Jacob Pickett last week.

Pickett was gunned down while assisting Lebanon Police in the pursuit of Baumgardt and 2 other men as they fled from the scene of an attempt to serve an arrest warrant in a Lebanon mobile home park.

Baumgardt was not the officers' original target, but he was recognized as being wanted on his own outstanding warrant which led to the pursuit.

Baumgardt faces a charge of murder, 2 counts of possession of methamphetamine, 2 handgun charges, 2 marijuana charges and a count of resisting law enforcement.

He was wounded by Lebanon Police Chief Tyson Warmoth after Pickett was fatally shot.

Baumgardt was treated for his injuries and is being held at the Hamilton County Jail. According to charging documents, Baumgardt told police, "I shot a cop because they were going to take me to jail."

Warmoth is on a 10-day administrative leave, according to Lebanon Police sources, to, "decompress." The sources stress the leave is not disciplinary.

Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer and the sheriff's office held a press conferment on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the charges and the investigation.

"This has been one of the most difficult events of my career," said Meyer. "Officer Pickett was a tremendous person and an outstanding police officer who wanted nothing but the best for his community. He was a pleasure to work with and he will be deeply missed. I extend my sincere condolences and sympathy to Deputy Pickett's wife and children and the other members of his family, as well as the entire Boone County law enforcement community - they are all in my thoughts and prayers."

Meyer said his office will continue to review the facts of the case to determine whether any additional charges will be filed. He said in Indiana the law allows the state to seek the death penalty for anyone accused of murdering a police officer while on duty.

"My final decision on whether to file for the death penalty will take time, but I can say this - based on the facts and circumstances as I understand them today, that is the direction I am leaning and as soon as I have made that decision, I will update the public in that regard."

Pickett's K9 partner Brik was at the press conference this afternoon. "This is one of the few times that Brik has left Jake's side, but I felt it was important for him to be here and listen to Prosecutor Meyer, Superintendent Carter, and my prepared statement," Boone County Sheriff Nielsen said.

(source: Fox News)


Court upholds death penalty case in Stella girl's murder

A conviction and the death sentence in the murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford 11 years ago was upheld Tuesday by the Missouri Supreme Court.

The court did not find any reason to overturn the conviction of Christopher Collings, 42, who is in custody at the Mineral Point Correctional Center.

His attorney argued in November that at Collings' jury trial, his attorneys failed to investigate his history of alcohol abuse and drug addiction to provide the basis for the defense's case.

The state argued it was not a failure but a strategic trial decision. The court was told that the defense explored the question of raising that issue by hiring at least three trained professionals on alcohol intoxication and abuse as consultants but did not call any of them to testify.

Collings was convicted of 1st-degree murder in the sexual assault and strangulation of the girl. She had been taken from her home in Stella in the middle of the night. After a week of searches, her body was discovered in the bottom of a cave in McDonald County. A ligature was used in her strangulation.

Collings' appellate attorney, Amy Bartholow, told the state's high court that her client's conviction was based on 2 legal fictions: that Collings acted as a sober being that night and that his brain was able to form accurate memories on which his later statements to police were based.

"Christopher's trial counsel failed to introduce significant evidence of his lifelong addiction to alcohol and drugs, and his severe intoxication on the night of the crime to rebut the state's evidence of deliberation or to challenge the inference of deliberation that the state drew from his confessions," Bartholow told the court.

Bartholow told the court there was reason to believe that Collings may have consumed the equivalent of at least 30 beers and that such consumption was almost certain to have caused a blackout level of impairment of his brain and the loss of the ability to form reliable memories. She claimed that the statements Collings made to investigators are "the only evidence against him" but are based on memories that the court should not have considered reliable because of his level of intoxication the night of the crime.

Collings confessed to the crime and gave a statement detailing how he went to the girl's home and took her, sleeping, to his home in Wheaton and raped her. He told authorities he kept the lights off and did not speak in hopes she would not recognize him, but when he took her back outside to return her home, he saw by the look on her face she recognized him. Then he took a wire from his truck and strangled her, burning it and other items involved in the crime, such as the bedding, after he dumped her body.

However, the girl's stepfather, David Spears, made what investigators would later determine to be a false confession to the crime. Spears' claim that he killed the girl was used as the defense at Collings' trial. Spears in 2012 pleaded guilty to reduced charges of child endangerment and hindering prosecution, and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

(source: The Joplin Globe)


Man Accused Of Setting Mother On Fire Could Face Death Penalty

36-year old Israel Guardado Ramirez was initially facing an attempted murder charge but after his mother died from the burns she sustained, Ramirez is now eligible for the death penalty.

"I couldn't believe that a son would be capable of doing that to his mother," said Deirdre Rodriguez, the victims niece.

The charges against him changing from attempted murder to murder after his mother, 61-year-old Francisca Ramirez died from her injuries. According to police, Ramirez doused his mother with a flammable liquid and set her on fire outside of the Mathis Brothers Furniture store in Indio.

"We learned there was some type of dispute between her and her son over child custody," said Sgt. Dan Marshall of the Indio Police Department.

"Just arguments within the family. It's starts with bickering and then it just grows," said Rodriguez.

The details of the dispute are unclear. The victim was airlifted to a hospital with severe burns covering more than half of her body.

"We realized that it was horrific. That this person actually was on fire. It affected my whole team and the team that actually worked it," said Marshall.

"How could one person harm another person in such a manner to torture them to the point there body is charred," said Rodriguez.

Ramirez is due back in court for a felony settlement conference on Friday.

(source: KMIR news)


New details emerge in Fremont cold-case killings; suspect could be eligible for death penalty

Court documents reveal that the man accused of killing 2 best friends 32 years ago also is accused of raping the women.

David Emery Misch, 57, was charged with 2 counts of murder in the February 1986 slayings of Michelle Xavier, 18, and Jennifer Duey, 20. Court documents also reveal that the 2 women, who were found naked on the side of a Mill Creek Road, were raped.

Misch is charged with special circumstances of felony murder during the course of a rape, use of a gun, and murder with a prior murder conviction, court documents say.

The special circumstances of murder in the commission of a rape, and multiple murders, could make Misch eligible for the death penalty, should Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O???Malley consider it.

Misch was already serving a sentence of 18 years to life in connection with an East Bay homicide that happened in December 1989, 3 years after the Fremont slayings. In that case, 36-year-old Margaret N. Ball was found stabbed to death in her Hayward home. He was convicted of 2nd-degree murder in 1990 in Alameda County Superior Court.

Misch also has another prior felony conviction, assault with a deadly weapon; he was convicted in that case in 1982.

After Xavier and Duey were found dead, a police sergeant found Xavier's car, a Pontiac Sunbird, approximately 6 miles away from the crime scene in the parking lot of the Mission Valley Shopping Center.

Earlier that evening, the women had attended a birthday dinner for a family member. They were last seen together about 8 p.m. at a convenience store in the area of Farwell Drive and Mowry Avenue. Authorities never found any of their personal belongings, including purses and identification.

Authorities did not reveal what the suspect's motive may have been, citing the investigation.



Death penalty: Prolonging life in prison a mistake

Re: "Bill to end death penalty advances in Senate," (TNT, 2/15).

It took 10 years and $15 million in Florida to execute Ted Bundy. Not very cost effective for the taxpayers.

If we eliminate the possibility of the death penalty by law, then we need to be more aggressive with how we deal with the sentence of "life in prison without parole."

The individual is supposed to die in prison. His/her life is not supposed to be extended with organ transplants, cancer treatments, life-saving measures to preserve life.

The only health-related measures this prisoner should receive are prescriptions to ease pain so he/she dies a peaceful/painless/comfortable death.

No antibiotics, no vaccines, nothing medically to cure him/her of anything that may be contracted while incarcerated. Let nature take its course to let this individual die.

Any prisoner with the sentence of life without parole should have a do-not-resuscitate order mandated by law. After all, isn't this individual in prison to die?

(source: Letter to the Editor; Kenneth
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