THE STATE OF INDIANA vs. DAVID RAY CAMM
2013 – The Third Trial
Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013
David Camm, a former Indiana State Police trooper and home repair specialist, is about to get a third trial.
On Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. – roughly the time this blog entry will be posted – the Boone County Circuit Court will convene in Lebanon, Ind. That's about 140 miles north of Louisville, and a 2-hour, 30 minute drive, as the crow flies. Satellite trucks from Kentucky and Indiana media are expected to be there, as are representatives from national outlets. All to discover the answer to one question:
Did David Camm murder his wife and children?
If you've lived in "Kentuckiana" (as we in the local media like to call the Kentucky / Indiana area) for very long, you're probably familiar with the name David Camm. The 49-year-old is either loved or hated, depending on who you talk to. Is he a serial adulterer, child molester and cold-blooded murderer, as past prosecutors have painted him? Or is he the victim of a botched investigation, overzealous prosecutors and "junk" forensic science, as his defense attorneys claim?
One thing is certain: juries have twice found David Camm guilty of murder, and twice have those convictions been tossed out by higher courts. That's why even now – almost 13 years after the victims were murdered – David Camm's fate has yet to be determined.
The story thus far…
If you're the type who likes to follow trials, and you're unfamiliar with this case, you've got some homework to do. Know this: it's one of the most bizarre, complex, unpredictable cases we've seen in our area. It contains more twists and turns than a rat maze, and it involves such investigative terms as "DNA forensics," "alibi witnesses," "blood stain pattern analysis" and "high-velocity impact spatter."
If you want to get caught up on what's happened in the case so far, there are some excellent resources online:
48 Hours: Murder on Lockhart Road
48 Hours did a two-hour special on the David Camm investigation that covers the first two trials. Links to Part 1 and Part 2 of that special are included below. (Note: The video is currently unavailable to Time Warner Internet subscribers.)
Murder on Lockhart Road – Part 1
Murder on Lockhart Road – Part 2
"One Deadly Night" by John Glatt: Noted true crime author John Glatt goes in-depth into the initial murder investigation and the evidence presented in David Camm's first trial. Published in 2005, it lacks any coverage of Camm's second trial, and includes a brief Epilogue that notes the arrest of Chares Boney, who was also convicted for the murders.
"Secrets can be Murder: The Killer Next Door" by Jane Valez-Mitchell: This book features a chapter on the David Camm case.
It's impossible to get a thorough understanding of the case in just a few paragraphs, but consider the following a primer:
The investigation began on Sept. 28, 2000 at 9:30 p.m., when the Indiana State Police Sellersburg Post received a frantic phone call from former Indiana State Police trooper David Camm. Camm had just come home from playing basketball at the Georgetown Community Church (roughly a four-minute drive away), only to find his wife Kim, his son Brad (age 7) and daughter Jill (age 5) shot to death in his garage on Lockhart Road in Georgetown, Ind.
Three days after the murders, Camm was arrested. Over the course of the investigation, then Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith said he discovered that Camm was a serial adulterer – with over a dozen women coming forward to say Camm either propositioned them or had sexual relations with them. They also said Kim was about to leave him, and that 5-year-old Jill had been sexually molested within a 12- to 24-hour time period prior to her death.
Additionally, prosecutors say tiny microscopic blood stains on David Camm's t-shirt known as "high-velocity impact spatter" proved that Camm was not only at the scene when the shootings took place, but was within four feet of his daughter Jill at the moment she was shot. The case was clear, according to the prosecution: David Camm had been molesting his daughter and cheating on his wife. Kim found out about it and was about to leave him, so David decided to take matters into his own hands.
But the case was far from "clear cut," according to the defense. Camm couldn't have committed the murders because 11 alibi witnesses – including Camm's uncle and Number One defender, Sam Lockhart – claim they were playing basketball with him at the time the murders took place. The defense called the blood spatter evidence "junk science," and demanded that the prosecution test DNA evidence on an unidentified gray sweatshirt found on the scene – one that was not David Camm's.
But the jury did not favor Camm, and in 2002, he was convicted of three counts of murder, and sentenced to 195 years in prison.
Under normal circumstances, the story would end there, but in 2004, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the guilty verdict in the first of what would be several twists in this case. Among other things, the court argued that the adultery evidence should not have been presented, as it unfairly prejudiced the jury against Camm. David Camm would have to be retried.
In the meantime, the new Floyd County Prosecutor, Keith Henderson, had the DNA on the infamous gray sweatshirt tested – and the tests unveiled some surprising results. Henderson said the shirt belonged to Charles Boney, an ex-convict with a violent history. Additionally, prosecutors matched a handprint found at the scene to Charles Boney.
In March 2005, Charles Boney was arrested and charged with the murders. At the same time, all charges against David Camm – who was out on bond awaiting his second trial -- were dropped. His reprieve was brief, however, and later the same day, Indiana State Police vehicles quickly arrived to take Camm back to jail as he was re-arrested and charged with the murders of his wife and children – only this time, the charges stated that he had an accomplice: Charles Boney.
In 2006, Camm and Boney were tried at roughly the same time, but separately: Boney faced trial in New Albany, while Camm, in an attempt to escape media hype, was tried in Boonville, Ind.
Both men were found guilty. Camm was found guilty again.
But lightning struck twice for the former husband and father: in June 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict in his second trial, on the grounds that the prosecutor's speculation that Camm molested his daughter – without providing any evidence, in their view – unfairly prejudiced the jury.
In the meantime, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson – who said that Camm would be re-tried a third time – was removed from the case, after a controversial book deal on his role in the trial was uncovered.
Special Prosecutor Stan Levco has been appointed to the case.
Why we're here
No one should have to sit through more than one David Camm trial.
But many journalists have. They are ridiculously long. A typical murder trial in Jefferson County, Ky. might take 1-2 weeks to present. The third David Camm trial is expected to last 2-3 months. It's a logistical nightmare for Kentuckiana journalists, as it often means literally picking up and relocating for the duration of the trial.
But all of that pales in comparison to what the families on both sides of this case have to go through. So far, the Renn, Karem, Camm and Lockhart families have endured three trials (two for David Camm and one for Charles Boney) and they have handled it with dignity and grace, despite having to re-live horrifying events and images, and despite having profound differences over who is responsible.
So why are we here?
Over the course of this trial, we hope to provide regular updates – both via broadcast reports and through this blog – on what is happening inside the courtroom. It's important because, a) justice needs to be served for a woman and two children who have died, b) it's one of the most costly investigations in Floyd County history, and residents need to know where their money is going, c) the case has gained national attention among legal experts, and d) it speaks to legal issues, such as alibi witnesses and the validity of blood stain pattern analysis.
We also hope to use this blog to provide you with behind-the-scenes glimpses into what it's like covering a high-profile trial, and how journalists do their jobs.
Consider this an experiment, and please feel free to provide feedback.
We'll update when we can.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web producer for WDRB.com who attended the second David Camm trial from Jan. 8 – March 3, 2006. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.