The arraignment for Michael Brook Bickett (27), of Hawesville, was held on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 in Hancock County. It was a preliminary hearing and one of the first stages in the pretrial process. Normally during an arraignment, the judge will state the list of charges filed against the defendant and they are then asked how they plead to those charges.
However, because the wreck and Jacoby Gray’s death occurred in Indiana, Hancock County only has jurisdiction over the D.U.I. charge.
Indiana State Police (ISP) Jasper Post took over the investigation and they have not yet filed their charges. A second hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, January 18th, and will be virtual.
At this first hearing, Bickett’s appointed public defender told the judge that he’s going to be making a motion to reduce his bond. Bickett will remain in the Breckinridge County Detention Center until the virtual hearing.
Judge Denzin, one of the new district court judges, will decide on the 18th whether or not he’s going to reduce Bickett’s bond. If the decision is made not to reduce his bond, then they will ask him if he wants to waive to the grand jury or proceed. “It’s up to the defense council at that point,” Michael Boling, Hancock County Circuit Court Clerk said.
According to County Judge Paul Madden, Jr., Bickett’s other charges, eventually, will have to be dropped because the accident and death did not happen in Hancock County. The charges have not officially been dropped yet because they’ve been trying to give ISP time to get charges together first. If they don’t do that by the 18th, there is a reasonable chance that Bickett could bond out. Therefore anything related to Jacoby’s death will be totally up to ISP Jasper Post.
Bickett was arrested and detained at Breckinridge County Detention Center on Friday, December 23rd, 2022 and was charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Failure to Render Aid, Wanton Endangerment and Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence.
He had admitted to driving while drunk and then crashing his vehicle with Jacoby Gray (22), also of Hawesville, as a passenger on Thursday evening, December 22nd, 2022. He stated that Jacoby left the scene and that he was unable to find him when he got the vehicle running again and left without him. He also stated that he could not remember where they had wrecked, and prolonged the search for Jacoby further by refusing to sign off on paperwork so that police could access Google Maps on his phone. He finally signed on that Saturday. Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy B.J. Burton had been leading the search, which lasted for three days.
Deputy Burton and Deputy Jeff Hendrick, along with Perry County Sheriff’s Office, ISP Jasper Post and Perry County EMA executed a line search after locating the wreck scene using Google Maps. They found Jacoby’s body in a field near Perry County Animal Clinic at 4:45 p.m. on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25th.
Jacoby hit his head on the windshield when Bickett slammed into a guard rail and signs on the dead end road behind Perry County Memorial Hospital. He was bleeding profusely and had left the vehicle, most likely walking to find some help. He was likely disoriented and it was negative 25 degrees that night. The suspected cause of death before an autopsy report, was a combination of loss of blood and hypothermia. Detective Fisher at ISP Jasper Post was assigned to the investigation.
Bickett is a convicted felon and had been released from prison earlier this year. This is still an ongoing investigation in Indiana.
By Jennifer Wimmer