It’s not unheard for murder defendants to quickly confess–but asking for the death penalty? Indiana man Anthony Baumgardt seemed to be seeking his own execution in a court appearance on Wednesday. He faces charges for killing Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett.
It was a strange hearing by any standard. Baumgardt asked Judge Bruce Petit if he could plead guilty, though the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, and told him he could change it within the next twenty days. Then Baumgardt asked this question.
“Is the death penalty going to be seeked [sic] for this?” he asked according to The Indianapolis Star, later saying, “If I were to seek it out on my own, would that change anything? You know, enter my guilty plea now and seek the death penalty?” He said he was “just wondering my options.”
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen also showed up for the hearing. He reportedly performed CPR on Pickett after the shooting.
“Sheriff, sheriff,” Baumgardt asked him in court. “Can I ask you one question?”
Nielsen did not respond.
Deputies said the shooting happened Friday. The Lebanon Police Department had tried to serve an arrest warrant to a second man, John D. Baldwin Jr. That sparked a car chase. Baumgardt later ran on foot, and that’s when he shot Pickett, authorities said. Baumgardt later told investigators he did it because he didn’t want to return to jail, court documents stated. He faced an arrest warrant for theft.
Before court on Wednesday, Baumgardt told reporters that he had “no remorse” for the killing. After court, he said he had no comment.
He faces numerous charges: murder, two counts of possession of methamphetamine, a felony and misdemeanor count of carrying a handgun without a license, two misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana, and a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement. Baldwin was also charged for attempting to evade arrest.
[Screengrab via WCMH-TV]