LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — Accused cop killer Anthony Baumgardt on Wednesday pleaded guilty to three counts: murder, possession of methamphetamine and resistance of law enforcement.
Baumgardt was accused of killing Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett in March 2018. Baumgardt was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty. He also received a six-year prison sentence for possession of meth and 365 days in jail for resisting law enforcement. His sentences will run concurrently.
The Boone County prosecutor had sought the death penalty, but Pickett’s family agreed to a plea deal calling for Baumgardt to spend the rest of his life in a Michigan City prison.
On March 2, 2018, Baumgardt fired three shots at Pickett while being chased by police. Baumgardt pulled out a gun and shot Picket as the deputy rounded a corner, according to Indiana State Police.
Baumgardt reportedly told investigators he feared being taken to jail. He had an active arrest warrant.
Pickett died from his injuries after his organs were donated. He left behind a wife and two young sons.
Brent Westerfeld, Baumgardt’s lawyer, said, “He is sorry for what’s occurred and he realizes the harm and the loss that resulted in his actions and he took responsibility for that today.”
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said Baumgardt had no remorse. The sheriff also said he was sickened to see pictures of Baumgardt smiling and posing in jail.
Minutes after Baumgardt accepted the plea agreement, he was ushered from the Boone County Courthouse. He wore a bulletproof vest as armed deputies surrounded him. Baumgardt paused briefly to acknowledge a handful of friends gathered outside, but said nothing.
Baumgardt’s lawyer said drugs were at the root of his client’s actions. The plea deal narrative revealed Baumgardt and John Baldwin were receiving meth in a fronted deal before getting in a car and leading police on a chase in Lebanon.
“Well, I think everybody knows that drugs can a change a person’s personality. They change the way they react. They change our feelings. They change everything,” Westerfeld said.
The judge said he would not have accepted the plea agreement if Pickett’s family had not said it was their wish that Baumgardt serve life in prison.
During the sentencing hearing, Pickett’s widow, Jennifer gave a two-page statement in which she spoke about her sons. “They now believe this world is full of evil murderers like you.”
Jennifer Pickett also said, “I do not believe he (Baumgardt) deserves a single word from me but I can’t allow him to sit in this courtroom without from hearing from me. … Your cowardly, impulsive action took years away from a man who deserved so much more. You took away driving lessons and father-son trips and the feeling on graduation day.“
“We will live the way Jake taught because you cannot steal his legacy.”