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Dates in Columbus reckless homicide delayed 3rd time

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Court dates for an Elizabethtown man accused of reckless homicide in the death of a fellow bar patron 15 months ago have been pushed back until late this summer.

The trial of Jacob A. Tolbert, 25, of 10202 Legal Tender Road is now scheduled to begin Aug. 19, according to court documents.

Witnesses say the southeast Bartholomew County man backed a pickup over Thomas L. “Tommy” Brazzell, 27, of Vallonia, a personal trainer at a Seymour health club, as the man lay prone on the pavement behind the vehicle.

The incident occurred April 28, 2013, in the parking lot of what was then known as Caddies Pub in the 2700 block of Central Avenue in Columbus.

The trial delay is the third continuance for Tolbert, who was originally charged with reckless homicide as a Class C felony; failure to stop after an accident resulting in death, a Class C felony; and possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.

A fourth charge — failure to return to the scene of an accident resulting in death as a Class C felony — was added in June 2013.

Last December, defense attorney Eric Hayes of Columbus notified the court he might argue Tolbert acted out of self-defense. The Columbus attorney had earlier stated his client and a companion had been hit multiple times inside the bar just before the fatal accident.

Both the defendant and the victim, along with others, confronted one another after being kicked out of Caddies Pub, and Brazzell had grabbed on to Tolbert’s truck as the defendant attempted to leave the

parking lot, according to a police affidavit.

It was after Brazzell fell off the vehicle that the truck backed up over him, the affidavit stated.

Negotiations got underway in January that court officials said at the time were intended to resolve Tolbert’s case without going to trial. At that time, those talks involved the possibility of amending charges against the defendant, court officials said.

On March 31, however, Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann accepted elevated charges that reclassified the “failure to stop” and “failure to return” counts as Class B felonies, instead of Class C.

Imprisonment for a Class B felony is 6 to 20 years, as opposed to 2 to 8 years for a Class C felony.

However, as of Monday, there was no paperwork filed with the court suggesting a plea agreement had been reached in the matter. Toxicology results are expected to play a factor in negotiations, according to Mike DeArmitt of the county prosecutor’s office.

Tolbert claimed to have consumed up to seven beers before the incident and had taken an anxiety medication known to amplify the effects of alcohol, according to police records.

Plea agreements could potentially surface at either a July 21 pretrial conference or a tentative change of plea hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.

Tolbert was released on $3,500 cash bond one week after his arrest and has remained out of jail since that time.

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