LEBANON — Clad in a bulletproof vest and surrounded by armed deputies, the man accused of killing Deputy Jacob Pickett asked a Boone County judge if he could “put in his guilty plea today.”
Anthony Baumgardt’s initial hearing was unlike anything experienced attorneys, court staff, and spectators have seen before. Baumgardt is accused of killing Pickett last Friday.
Ten heavily armed sheriff’s deputies watched over him and courtroom spectators. Baumgardt, 21, asked if he could enter a guilty plea and ask for the death penalty. Even prosecutor Todd Meyer was taken aback.
“Under the circumstances that he faces, right? That was, that was bizarre,” he said.
A motorcade of heavily armed cops delivered Baumgardt to the Boone County Courthouse. He was shackled and wearing a bulletproof vest. They surrounded the accused killer. As they walked into the courthouse, a reporter asked Baumgardt why he did it.
“I didn’t want to get bit by a dog.” Baumgardt said.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen was a few steps behind.
“That’s Deputy Pickett’s dog. That’s Brik,” he said.
“I didn’t want to get bit by Brik,” Baumgardt replied.
Then another question yelled by a reporter – “Are you sorry?”
“No. No remorse,” Baumgardt answered.
The words cut through Sheriff Neilsen.
“I don’t think I can express what that means, because that was a senseless death, a senseless shooting,” he said. “That didn’t have to happen and he don’t care that it happened and that hurt deep inside me.”
In court, Baumgardt’s behavior bordered on bizarre.
“This is my just my initial hearing, right?” the suspect asked. When one of the officers said yes, he answered, “Right on!”
Baumgardt is accused of killing Deputy Jacob Pickett after a police chase across Lebanon.
The list of criminal charges Baumgardt faces includes murder, drug and gun crimes. After hearing those charges, Baumgardt asked the judge “Is there a way I could put my guilty plea in today?”
Then he asked about the death penalty.
“If I was to seek it on my own, would that change anything?” Baumgardt said.
Judge Bruce Pettit suggested he stop talking and assigned Baumgardt a public defender.
Prosecutor Todd Meyer is leaning toward seeking a death penalty. Baumgardt’s comments will play into his decision.
“That is one of those things I can’t ignore, certainly,” he said.
While Anthony Baumgardt was in court, his father Robert visited Deputy Pickett’s memorial. He left a hand-written message to the lawman’s family.
“So sorry for your loss and sorry for our son. Justice,” it read.
“I did what I had to do and he will rot in hell,” Robert Baumgardt said, referring to his son.