Anthony Baumgardt didn’t want to go to jail, and he didn’t want to get bitten by a police dog, according to reports.
The Lebanon, Indiana, man says that’s why he allegedly gunned down Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett, a 34-year-old married father of two young children, as Pickett was chasing him on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Pickett was pursuing Baumgardt with a K-9 after officers spotted a stolen vehicle in which Baumgardt was a passenger, authorities said.
Baumgardt, 21, was shot by other officers, the Indy Star reported. When he was being treated in the hospital, he told a detective, “I shot a cop ... cause they were going to take me to jail,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
After his first court appearance on Wednesday, he was asked why he did it, ABC 6 reported. “I didn’t want to get bit by a dog”, Baumgardt allegedly responded, referencing Pickett’s K-9, Brik, the news station said.
Baumgardt was asked whether he was sorry, the news station reported. “Nope, no remorse,” he said.
His casual attitude may have stunned reporters and authorities. But it was his “bizarre” request in court that put him in the company of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, according to authorities.
Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer compared him to McVeigh after Baumgardt, who faces murder and a slew of other charges, asked whether he could plead guilty and seek the death penalty, the Indy Star reported.
Baumgardt had asked whether the death penalty was being sought against him, the AP reported. The judge told him prosecutors haven’t yet made that decision, and that’s when he reportedly asked, “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?”
“I was just wondering my options, sir,” he said, according to the Indy Star.
A not-guilty plea was entered on Baumgardt’s behalf, and he was given a lawyer, ABC 6 reported.
“I’ve heard some defendants say some strange things in court, but this one ... no, I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced anything of that sort under the circumstances he faces,” Meyer said, the Indy Star reported.
Meyer told the Indy Star that Baumgardt’s behavior may have altered the time frame of when prosecutors decide whether to pursue the death penalty.
“The decision may end up coming sooner than I expected,” he said.