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State will seek death penalty for Boone County police officer's murder

Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer announced the state would seek the death penalty against Anthony Baumgardt, the man who is charged with Boone County sheriff's deputy Jacob Pickett’s murder. 

Last month, Baumgardt asked in court if the prosecutor would try to seek the death penalty or if he could request it for consideration himself. On Tuesday, his request came true. 

“When someone takes the life of a police officer, by intentionally killing him/her, while he/she is acting in the line of duty, then that person should have to face the ultimate penalty which, in the state of Indiana, is a sentence of death," Meyer said in a Tuesday press release. 

Meyer said the aggravating factor in the decision was that Baumgardt intentionally killed Pickett while in the line of duty. This qualifies the case for death penalty consideration. 

One of the first statements Baumgardt made to police when questioned was simple: “I shot a cop,” he said. According to court documents, Baumgardt told police he did it because "they were going to take me to jail."

When he was walked into court, reporters asked Baumgardt why he did it. 

“I didn’t want to get bit by a dog,” he responded.

“That was Deputy Pickett’s dog, that’s Brik,” Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen responded. 

“Well, I didn’t want to get bit by Brik,” Baumgardt said. 

Baumgardt’s arrest began when Lebanon, Indiana police officers went to 1402 Yates St. on March 2 to serve an unrelated arrest warrant. 

According to court documents, officers found a car with three men inside while searching the area. An officer recognized one of the other men in the car and knew there was an active warrant out for his arrest in Boone County. What followed was a 10-minute police chase through the streets of Lebanon.

Baumgardt exited the car, and Pickett and Brik, followed him on foot. Baumgardt then shot and wounded Pickett, according to court documents.

Pickett was taken to St. Vincent in Indianapolis, where he died from his injuries. 

Baumgardt fled the scene but was caught by officers a short time afterward, according to court documents. He faces charges of murder, possession of methamphetamine, carrying a handgun without a license, possession of marijuana and resisting law enforcement.

He is being held in the Hamilton County jail without bond. 

Baumgardt will appear in court Friday, on the state's request, for an initial hearing on the death penalty. According to online court records, he is scheduled to have a pretrial conference at 1:45 p.m. May 16, and a jury trial is set for July 31.

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