Aug. 23, 2013
LEBANON, Ind. (WDRB) – If you ever decide to attend the third David Camm trial – or any court proceeding for that matter – be prepared to stand.
There is one group of people, other than the judge, for whom everyone in the courtroom stands when they enter. It's not the attorneys. It's not the media. It's not the members of the victims' or defendant's families, or the half-dozen or so members of law enforcement who provide the necessary security for the proceeding.
It's the jury.
I've often wondered how it must feel for the jury members as they're ushered into a packed courtroom, with everyone standing silently, almost at attention, with all eyes on them as they file into their individual seats. They must feel like royalty.
And in retrospect, it makes sense that court grants them this honor. Everyone else in the courtroom has a motive for being there. The judge and the attorneys are there because it's their job to be there. The defendant is there because – well, he has to be there. And the families on either side are there because they have a vested interest in the outcome.
The jurors have no vested interest. Granted, they're getting paid, if you call $40 a day, a pat-on-the-back and a "thank you for your service" payment.
But a willingness to fulfill a civic duty isn't their only trait. These jurors have another quality that will serve them well over the next 6-10 weeks: they're curious.
From what I can tell, these jurors are awake, alert and engaged. By midday, they'd already asked four questions of the witnesses. And each of them was given an enormous (read: monster) black binder containing legal pads and other items I can't get a look at. That will come in handy near the end of this trial when they want to review notes from four weeks earlier.
Court was gaveled into session at 9:07 a.m. and the jury was brought into the room.
Prosecution Witness #3: James Niemeyer
As court resumed, defense attorney Stacy Uliana resumed her cross examination of retired Indiana State Police trooper James Niemeyer, who was serving as a crime scene technician supervisor on Sept. 28, 2000 – the night of the murders.
Niemeyer agreed with Uliana that crime scene investigation consists of four stages: observation of evidence, documentation of evidence, collection of evidence and preservation of evidence.
She asked him if he agreed that "when you take a photograph, it's important to document when you took the photograph."
He replied that, "sometimes the photograph speaks for itself."
Uliana added that it's good to take notes about the crime scene because sometimes "cases go on forever" and "memories fade."
"Yes ma'am," Niemeyer replied.
Uliana then had Niemeyer recall taking a palm print approximately 1'-9" from the top of Kim Camm's Ford Bronco, which was found in the garage at the murder scene. That palm print was later traced to Charles Boney, who would eventually be convicted for the three murders.
"You hit a home run, didn't you?" Uliana said.
When she had Niemeyer point the approximate location of the palm print out in a photo, Uliana said, "So you're trying to say it's close up by the shoes?" (Referencing Kim Camm's shoes, which were founding resting neatly on the top of the Bronco. Niemeyer replied that it was in a "very close proximity."
Uliana then asked if it's important for investigators to have an "open mind" when they arrive at a crime scene, "because when you get to the scene you don't know exactly what happened."
"Yes ma'am," Niemeyer said.
She showed him a picture of the interior of the Bronco, near the back cargo area. Blood could be seen dripping down one of the interior side panels.
"Were you aware that David Camm said he found Brad going over the back seat into the cargo area?" Uliana asked. "Because we have that photo, we have evidence consistent with David Camm's side of the story."
Uliana pointed out that, contrary to procedure, the rolls of film containing pictures of the crime scene were not sent to an Indiana State Police lab, but instead to a commercial 24-hour film developing facility. As a result, she said the "identifiers" – the tags used to mark each picture with the time, date and location it was taken – were lost.
"Let's talk about the sweatshirt that was found next to Bradley Camm," Uliana continued. She then pointed out a prior proceeding where Niemeyer admitted that "it got away."
"I probably said that," Niemeyer said. He later testified that the sweatshirt – which would later be traced to Charles Boney – had been inadvertently placed in a bag with Brad Camm's body.
Uliana then challenged Niemeyer's ability to keep an open mind about the investigation. She took him back to when he first arrived at the crime scene and was standing outside the garage.
"And you made the determination at this point that this was a David Camm crime scene," she said.
"That is incorrect."
He was then presented with a statement from a prior proceeding in which he said he knew, "this was David Camm's crime."
"And you thought it even before you went inside David Camm's home," Uliana said. Before he took pictures, or videos, or fingerprints.
"You didn't even know that palm print was going to come back to Charles Boney," Uliana said.
"That's correct," Niemeyer replied. Later, when questioned by Special Prosecutor Stan Levco, he would explain himself:
"When I walked up and looked through the garage door, things went through my mind," he added. He said he didn't think the suspect was a burglar.
"Does a burglar shoot a woman and two children?" he asked. "You've got two exits."
He added that he believed Kim's attacker was known to her, because if it was a complete stranger, "all she would have to do was put the vehicle in reverse and blow it."
"She knew him and she wasn't afraid of him," he said. "I was convinced David was involved."
Uliana would later mock these hunches as, "great theories that you came up with in five minutes" and point out that people do get shot during robberies.
At the conclusion of Niemeyer's testimony, the jury would ask two questions: 1) What was the caliber of the shell casings found at the scene? (.380), and 2) Was it possible that what had been reported as a mixture of blood and serum found streaming from Kim Camm's head could be something else, such as blood and urine? (Niemeyer wasn't able to answer.)
Prosecution Witness #4: James Bube
Later in the morning, the jury heard testimony from James Bube, who worked as a forensic mapping specialist for the Indiana State Police during the Camm family murders.
Bube was called to the scene on Sept. 28, 2000.
"Initially that night it was to provide security," he testified. "The following day my services were needed to make a map of the crime scene."
Bube said he spent four 12-hour days mapping the crime scene, as well as documenting the interior and exterior of the Bronco where Jill Camm's body was found.
The prosecutors presented the jury with 2D renderings of a 3D image Bube created of the interior of the Camm's garage and home. He also created a diagram of the murder scene, showing the bodies of Kim and Brad Camm on the ground outside the Bronco.
Upon cross examination, Uliana pointed out that the shooting happened in the garage, "but you still took the time to document the inside of the house – and to do it right."
Prosecution Witness #5: Charlie McDaniel
Shortly thereafter, Charlie McDaniel was called to the stand. An older man with short cropped white hair and glasses, McDaniel is a 26-year veteran of the Indiana State Police, who serves in the area of crime scene investigation.
He told the court that he supervised the transportation of the Kim Camm's Ford Bronco here to Lebanon, Ind. specifically for this trial.
Special Prosecutor Stan Levco asked him if the front passenger side seat was working in the sense that it could be pushed forward and back.
McDaniel said that, "sometimes I could get it to work. Most of the time I could not."
Levco then submitted into evidence numerous fiber samples he had taken from the carpet in various areas of the Camm home. Defense attorney Stacy Uliana pointed out that those fibers had been collected in 2005, years after the murders, with new residents living in the home.
Videos taken by McDaniel of the interior and exterior of the Georgetown Community Church gym were also submitted into evidence. In prior trials, 10 witnesses testified that they were playing basketball with David Camm at the gym during the time of the murders.
"Did you count the number of exits there are from the building?" Levco asked.
"There are nine exterior exits," McDaniel said.
Uliana then rose for cross examination.
"Were you ordered to take carpet samples from any other house?" she asked.
"No I was not," he replied. Upon questioning, he told her he was never asked to take carpet samples from Charles Boney's house.
He was also questioned about whether he had requested any surveillance video from a golf course that was nearby the Georgetown Community Church gym. He testified that he had not, and was not aware that there were any surveillance cameras at the golf course.
At the conclusion of his testimony, the jury had several questions for McDaniel, including whether there were time locks on the gym doors (he wasn't aware of any) and whether there were cameras on the outside of the gym (he doesn't recall.)
Prosecution Witness #6: John Galloway
John Galloway was a neighbor of the Camm family. The Camms lived on Lockhart Road in Georgetown, Ind., and Galloway lived on Alonzo Smith Road, nearby.
"Are you familiar with the defendant, David Camm?" Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer asked.
"Yes sir," Galloway said, identifying Camm.
Galloway identified his home on an overhead map, and told the jury he was able to see David Camm's home from his, as well as anyone entering or leaving Camm's street. He said that on the night of the murders, he and his wife were driving to dinner when they passed Camm at an intersection at roughly 5 p.m.
He also testified that at 7:30 that evening, he was back home watching Jeopardy, when he believed he saw Kim Camm's vehicle pull onto Lockhart Road to go home.
Before he left the stand, the jury asked if he had seen David Camm's vehicle pull onto the street shortly before Kim Camm's vehicle did. He said he did not, but he may have missed it.
Prosecution Witness #7: Brandon W. Beaven
Brandon Beaven, age 29, is the stepson of John Galloway, but on Sept. 28, 2000, he was a 16-year-old high school student.
With brown hair and a bushy beard, the stout Beaven recalled to the jury what happened that afternoon.
"Were you at school that day?" Meyer asked.
"I did not go to school that day," Beaven replied, to some laughter. He explained that his car wasn't working, and he convinced his mom into letting him stay home from school to work on it. He said he spent most of the day on his back tucked under the rear fender, until roughly 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., and saw several cars go by.
"There was one vehicle that stood out that I did not recognize," at 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m., he said. He described it as a "dark colored Cadillac" that didn't have Indiana license plates. He said when it past him the first time, it was driving normally, but when it came back, driving in the opposite direction, it was traveling "at a high rate of speed."
He said there may have been a passenger in the vehicle the second time it passed by, but he wasn't sure.
After 5:30 p.m., he said he left to volunteer at a haunted house. When he came back, after the murders, he said his home – which was near the Camm's -- was a much different scene.
"Every cop in the state of Indiana was in my front yard," he said. "As a 16-year-old, you kind of wonder about everything you ever did in the world." There was laughter in the court.
"It was about the time that music downloads had just started," he told defense attorney Richard Kammen.
"You have the right to remain silent…" Kammen said.
"These hearings are being recorded," Judge Dartt said, jokingly.
Kammen asked Beaven to recall instances when Camm would allow him to sit in his police vehicle, which Beaven called "intimidating" but said it kept him out of the weather.
Then, bizarrely, defense attorney Richard Kammen stretched out on the floor of the courtroom to demonstrate how Beaven had been lying underneath the fender when he was working on his car.
Afterward, Kammen showed him a photograph that police presented him with in 2005 – a photograph of a maroon colored Cadillac with gold trim on the wheels. When asked whether it was the same car he saw on the afternoon of Sept. 28, 2000, Beaven said that it was similar.
Prosecution Witness #8: Deborah Aven
By all accounts, Deborah Aven was the last person to see Kim, Brad and Jill Camm alive, other than the perpetrator of their murders.
She described Kim Camm as an acquaintance. She said their kids had swim practice at Hazelwood Jr. High School on Sept. 28, 2000 – and she spoke with Kim little more than an hour before her death.
"When I arrived, she was already there and she was sitting on the bleachers by herself," Aven testified. "We talked about how busy we were with all the children's activities."
Aven said she left around 7:15 p.m.
"Is it fair to say that when you sat and talked to Kim Camm, there was nothing out of the ordinary?" defense attorney Stacy Uliana asked.
She said that was correct.
"This is kind of upsetting for you, isn't it?" Uliana asked.
Then, unexpectedly, Aven broke down.
"You're probably the last person who saw this family alive," Uliana said.
"Now you got a phone call that night," Uliana said. "And it was one of those middle-of-the-night phone calls. And nobody wants one of those."
"Yes," a tearful Aven said. She said it was a swim coach calling to tell her about the murders.
The witness was excused.
Prosecution Witness #9: Rob Steier
Near the end of the day Friday, the jury heard testimony from Rob Steier, a man who drove a Schwan's groceries delivery truck at the time of the murders. Steier testified that on Sept. 28, 2000, he showed up at the Camm residence to take delivery orders. He arrived at approximately 6:35 p.m. and David Camm answered the door.
"As best as I can remember, he was wearing gym shorts," Steier said.
Steier testified that Camm told him he was going to play basketball at "an underground church" at 7 p.m. He also testified that Camm offered up this information spontaneously, and not in response to any question.
"He was going to play basketball at an underground church someplace," he said.
Kammen countered, asking Steier if this wasn't normal since he liked to make "small talk" with his customers.
"Well, I like to get done too," he said.
Hours after his encounter with David Camm, in the early morning of Sept. 29, 2000, Steier said he received a visit at his home from police.
"It sounded like somebody was going to knock my door down," he said.
He said he was treated like a suspect: officers wanted to look at his shoes, clothes and any guns that he owned – but he was quickly eliminated as a suspect.
Prosecution Witness #10: Mark Slaughter
The final witness of the day, Slaughter is a detective and a 23-year veteran of the Floyd County Police. On Sept. 28, 2000, he was at a firing range, when he received word of the Camm murders.
"So myself, along with probably every law enforcement officer in the region," rushed to the home, he said.
Slaughter said during the investigation that night, Detective Gary Gilbert gave him the responsibility of transporting David Camm to the Indiana State Police Sellersburg Post – roughly 15 miles from Camm's home – for questioning.
"Did you notice anything unusual about Mr. Camm?" Special Prosecutor Steve Levco asked.
Slaughter said "he was visibly upset."
"I did notice a spot on his shoe," he added. "It was a dark colored spot on his right shoe…it could have been a blood stain."
Slaughter said after Camm was delivered to the ISP post, he searched the back of his car for any contraband that Camm could have left there. He found none.
Court was dismissed for the week a short time later.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web producer for WDRB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.