Sept. 24, 2013
LEBANON, Ind. (WDRB) -- "I hope everyone had a good weekend," Judge Jonathan Dartt told the jury as they walked into the courtroom Tuesday morning. "Now it's not only cold inside the courtroom -- it's cold outside too!"
There was laughter from attendees of the third David Camm triple murder trial in Boone County, Ind. -- and the realization of just how much time has past thus far in the trial. Today marked the start of the seventh week, if you count jury selection which began on Aug. 12. It started in the heat of summer. Now, autumn is rolling into Boone County.
Tuesday also marked another change -- a paradigm shift of sorts. Last week, Special Prosecutor Stan Levco rested the state's case against David Camm. Today the defense began making its case. The scores of witnesses who will be heard from in the next few weeks -- three weeks, if you believe defense attorney Stacy Uliana -- will be hand-picked to prove why David Camm is innocent, not guilty.
As Uliana said last week, "now it's our turn to talk."
And they began their case with two witnesses: a man who admits to talking too much, and Uncle Sam.
Witness: Rob Stites
Former assistant to blood stain pattern analyst Rod Englert
Shortly after 9 a.m., Robert Stites took the stand.
Stites has been a name referred to by the defense throughout the trial. At the time of the Camm murders -- in Sept. 2000 -- Stites worked for Rod Englert, the nationally known blood stain pattern analyst who testified for the prosecution a few weeks ago. Stites himself testified for the prosecution in Camm's first two trials, but he was not on their witness list this time. This time the defense called him. Thus far in the trial, prosecutors have minimized his involvement in the Camm investigation.
Stites arrived in a dark suit, glasses and short, brown hair.
"Good morning Mr. Stites," defense attorney Stacy Uliana quipped. She was not smiling.
"Good morning," Stites replied in a soft voice that was difficult to hear.
Uliana began her questioning of Stites by pointing out that he wasn't testifying for the State of Indiana, as he did for the previous two trials. This time he was testifying for the defense. She also claimed that he was so unwilling to leave his home state of Oregon to testify today, that the defense team had to hire "some Oregon lawyers" and get a judge to order him to attend.
"Yes," Stites replied.
She noted that he's had a career change: he is now a research assistant at an Oregon university.
"You got out of the forensic consultant business about six or seven years ago," Uliana said.
Stites admitted this was true -- but Uliana took him back to 1991, when he began working for Englert, who was a friend of his dad's at the time. Stites told the jury that he didn't even have to apply, and that he worked his first case in the Virgin Islands shortly thereafter. His specialty was "documenting and photography" as well as "techy stuff."
Was he Englert's partner?
"We were working together," Stites said, adding that Englert billed $275 an hour for his time.
"It was pretty profitable for you, right?" Uliana asked.
Stites later told her one of the reasons he quit the forensic consulting business was a desire to earn a steady paycheck.
Uliana then walked Stites through his involvement in the investigation of the Camm family murders. Stites told the jury he got a call from Englert at about 5 p.m. in Sept. 2000, telling him that Englert was asked to assist in the investigation, but he couldn't go immediately because he was away at a conference. Englert asked him to go to Georgetown, Ind. in his place, to assist the investigation by documenting the scene and taking photographs. Stites testified that he was not to offer opinions, do blood stain pattern analysis or crime reconstruction.
"He's the expert, right?" Uliana asked.
"Right," Stites replied.
Stites said he was there for four days.
"To your credit, you took...very detailed notes," Uliana said.
"Thank you, yes," Stites replied.
So what was his job? Did he consider himself a crime scene reconstructionist?
"I don't know what I would define myself as," Stites admitted.
Uliana took Stites through his notes, point-by-point. He told the jury he noted the blood trail flowing from Kim Camm's head, and theorized that a high-PH substance had been added to the blood, indicating an attempt to clean up the crime scene. In his notes, he also mentioned alleged bleach stains on the deck of the Camm house, as well as a mop and bucket he found inside the home: also indications, in Stites' mind, that the scene had been altered.
Uliana pointed out that these notes were his attempts at brainstorming possibilities.
"They were not meant to be opinions," she said.
"Correct," Stites replied.
But that changed, Uliana said, when Stites met with then-Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith, who was drawing up a probable cause affidavit to have David Camm arrested.
"Somehow these notes" that "weren't supposed to be opinions...ended up in the probable cause affidavit," Uliana said.
Stites admitted that was correct, also admitting that he was identified in the affidavit as a "crime scene reconstructionist."
In fact, Uliana said, Stites' investigation played such a critical role in Camm's arrest, that Indiana State Police Det. Robert M. Neal called Stites just before they took Camm into custody to see if Stites was sure about his conclusions that the tiny dots on Camm's t-shirt were high-velocity impact spatter. Stites said he quickly fired off a call to Englert and described the stains.
"He agreed what I was describing -- the characteristics of what it should be were correct," Stites said, adding that Englert praised him for his work.
At one point, Stites stopped and asked the defense team for a drink of water.
Does Englert still maintain a high regard for Stites' work?
"He said I talked too much," Stites replied. "That was one thing."
Uliana asked him if he was aware that Englert testified just a couple of weeks ago that he "went overboard," was "fumbling" and gave too many opinions.
Stites said that Englert didn't tell him what he said.
Stites testified that he was taken to see the bodies of Kim, Brad and Jill -- and that he noticed bruising on Kim's neck, scrapes on her chin and scrapings on her left toenail. He added that Jill had a large bruise on her left temple, as well as on her forearm.
Uliana then asked Stites about the garage door at the Camm home, which she said, "had about 20 different areas that you thought were spatter, right?"
Stites said this was correct, and -- at Uliana's direction -- showed the jury different detailed diagrams he had done of the spatter patterns on the garage door, admitting that he never did a Phenolphthalein test on the door for blood because he ran out of Phenolphtalein.
Uliana pointed out that the stains turned out not to be blood, and "ended up being petroleum-based."
She then attacked Stites' theory that the scene had been cleaned up.
"Are you aware that the mop came back not to have blood on it?" she asked.
"No," Stites said.
Did he smell bleach at the scene?
"No," Stites replied. "I don't smell very well."
She re-emphasized that this "brainstorming" was just that -- and only that.
"It wasn't meant to be evidence, right?" she asked.
"Somehow, this brainstorming -- this speculation -- ended up in the probable cause affidavit," Uliana said.
"Yeah," Stites said. "It was in my notes."
"It was also in the probable cause affidavit," Uliana retorted.
Uliana's questioning then became an attack on Stites' credentials, accusing him of inaccurately representing himself as a crime scene reconstructionist in the first David Camm trial, as well as a blood stain pattern analyst. She also accused him about lying previously about being in the process of getting his Ph.D and his Masters degree.
Stites admitted that he had never been accepted into any Ph.D. or Masters program, and that he hadn't taken a graduate level course since the 90s.
"In fact, you flunked general chemistry," she said.
Stites said he felt then-Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith aided in the embellishment of his credentials.
"I felt uncomfortable," he said. "He referred to me as 'the professor.'"
"I thought he kind of exaggerated it," he added.
After Uliana's questioning, Special Prosecutor Stan Levco rose to cross-examine Stites.
First, Levco addressed the hearing Stites attended in Oregon shortly before he came to Boone County to testify in this trial.
"You actually asked for that hearing," Levco said. "The reason was, you wanted them [the defense team that had subpoenaed him] to pay for your expense for coming here, right?"
Stites agreed, arguing that it would have cost him $2,000 - $3,000 to make the trip, and the defense was only going to reimburse him 10-cents a mile, which would have totaled only $460.
"I couldn't afford that," he said.
"And you didn't want to take a financial loss, right?" Levco asked.
"You're actually not being compensated for your time here, right?" Levco asked.
"Not at all," Stites said. Uliana would later dispute this, claiming the defense team had agreed to pay for his transportation and lodging.
Levco pointed out that Stites' credentials or lack thereof were never meant to be a part of this case to begin with, again noting that Stites' only assignment was to take pictures and notes.
"You did more than that, right?" Levco asked.
"Yes," Stites said.
He added later that, "It was a dumb thing."
Was Englert right when he called his actions "fumbling?"
"I would agree," he said. "In hindsight, I would have kept my mouth shut."
His testimony completed a few minutes later, he was excused from the stand.
Witness: Sam Lockhart
Uncle of David Camm
Owner of United Dynamics Inc.
Just before lunch, Sam Lockhart, David Camm's uncle and the owner of United Dynamics, Inc., took the stand.
Perhaps the most vocal of all Camm's supporters, Sam Lockhart would explain that he was so sure of Camm's innocence, that he would virtually bankroll Camm's defense, going so far as to sell off part of his business and take out a mortgage on his house to fund the effort to prove David Camm didn't kill his family.
The reason Lockhart is so confident in his nephew's innocence? He and 10 others claim they were playing basketball with him the night of the murders.
In a black suit, white shirt and brown tie, 68-year-old Sam Lockhart faced the jury.
Defense attorney Richard Kammen began by asking Lockhart about his family life.
"I am one of nine," he said. "I have five sisters. I have three brothers."
He added that his oldest sister is Sue Camm -- David Camm's mother.
"She's still living, but she's in a nursing home now," he said, adding that David Camm's father, Don, still lives at home.
Is it a closely knit family?
"I would think so," he said. He noted that he was also close to Kim, Brad and Jill Camm.
"They were like my grandkids," he said, calling them "part of the family."
"They were fun to be around."
Lockhart testified that in March 2000, David Camm left the Indiana State Police Department and went to work at his company, United Dynamics, which provided foundation repair and waterproofing services.
"We had a need for somebody to manage our waterproofing division," he said. "He was a salesperson for me."
At the same time, Lockhart said he and several of his family were attendees of the Georgetown Community Church, which had a gymnasium where some of his friends and family would play basketball on Thursday nights.
"It was put together by my nephew, Jeff Lockhart," Sam Lockhart testified. "Guys would come out to get exercise."
Sam Lockhart said his nephew frequently tried to recruit enough players so they could play five-on-five.
On the night of Sept. 28, 2000 -- the night the murders took place -- Lockhart said he arrived at the gym shortly after 7 p.m. He didn't tell anyone he was coming.
"I'm older," he said, pointing out that he was 55 at the time. "I don't really play that much...I think I only played over there a couple of times."
"When I came in, I saw guys going up and down the floor, playing basketball," Lockhart said.
"Was one of those guys David?" Kammen asked.
Lockhart said they were already playing five-on-five.
"So 10 people," Kammen said. "You made the 11th."
"That's right," Lockhart said. "I picked up a basketball and pretended I was young and began to dribble it."
Lockhart said he didn't play in this game, choosing instead to randomly shoot basketball on the other end of the gymnasium, except when the full-court game invaded his side of the gym, in which case he dove out of the way. He said this would sometimes lead to some jibes.
"I might make fun of them, and they might make fun of me," Lockhart said.
"The phrase 'old-timer' might have come up?" Kammen asked.
"Maybe," Lockhart said, to some laughter in the courtroom.
Lockhart then testified that Tom Jolly, a church attendee and a member of the church's building committee, showed up at the gym.
"I've known him for years as a friend, and also a fellow church member," Lockhart said.
Lockhart said the game ended, and as the players prepared to play the next game, David Camm took a break and asked his uncle to play in his place, noting that he was going to take some time to run and stretch. Lockhart said he agreed -- and noticed Camm walking over to talk to Jolly.
After they finished that game, Lockhart testified that David Camm wanted back in on the next game. Lockhart said he himself played this game as well, filling in for another player who wanted to take a break.
Lockhart said he left a short time after that game, getting home at approximately 9:10 p.m.
A short time after that, he said he got a call from his brother, Nelson.
"I was out in the garage and was cleaning up my golf clubs," Lockhart said, explaining that he planned to golfing the next day.
Lockhart said he went upstairs to his room, took off his tennis shoes, got a soft drink and called his brother back. As it turned out, Nelson Lockhart wanted to speak with his brother about a gutterproofing sale he had just made and had some questions about pricing.
"Our conversation was interrupted," Sam Lockhart testified. "I heard a screaming, and a banging and a yelling."
He said the sound was coming from the phone -- and it sounded as though the phone had been dropped.
"Finally, Nelson came back on the phone," Sam testified. "It felt like it was forever."
Sam said Nelson told him that something bad had happened at David Camm's house -- that something had happened to his kids. Sam Lockhart said Nelson told him, "Get over here quick!"
According to Sam Lockhart's testimony, he immediately put on his slippers and ran down the steps, seeing his son, Philip, on the way to his car.
"I said, 'Something bad has happened out at Dave's -- I've got to get there now!'" Sam Lockhart testified.
Lockhart said he and Philip jumped in Sam's car and began heading that way.
"I went as fast as I could," Lockhart said, noting that he was passing cars in the emergency lane on I-64. "I was cutting in and out of traffic!"
Sam broke down in front of the jury when he recounted what happened when he got to the home and saw the crime scene.
"I go up toward the garage...and I see Bradley and I see Kim," he said, his voice breaking. "I thought Kim -- I thought it was Jill."
"I'll get through his," he stammered to the jury. "Hold on just a second."
Lockhart testified that he wanted to help the victims, but his brother, Nelson (who had experience in law enforcement) told him not to interfere with the crime scene.
And the police started to arrive? Lights? Sirens?
"Everything you can imagine, yes," Lockhart said.
What about David Camm?
Lockhart told the jury that Camm was standing with his hands on top of the tailgate of his truck.
"He just screamed this loud, primal, howling scream," Sam Lockhart said, adding that "he went down on the asphalt...kicking and screaming and rolling."
Lockhart said he immediately went to check on other relatives who lived on that street.
"I was worried about my sister Debbie," he said. "I didn't know if somebody come back there and killed everybody back there."
He said he also had the traumatic task of informing the Renn family of what had happened to their daughter and grandchildren. He said he got someone to drive him and his brother Leland to the Renns' home.
"That must have been pretty tough," Kammen said.
"It was bad," Lockhart said, adding that Frank Renn collapsed upon hearing the news, and that he had never had to do anything like that before.
For the next few days, Lockhart said, David Camm was on medication.
"I know that he was on a couple of different things that his sister Julie got for him," Lockhart said, pointing out that Julie is a nurse.
Lockhart also recounted an incident that retired Det. James Biddle testified about earlier in this trial. The incident took place during the weekend after the murders, and concerned a moment where Camm allegedly got into an argument with investigators outside his home and chest-butted one of them.
Lockhart said Camm wanted to get into the home to get some clothes for his children's funerals.
"Dave's kind of standing there, letting me do the talking," Lockhart said.
Lockhart said that at one point when Camm demanded to get in, Biddle denied the request, telling Camm, "Dave, I know how you feel."
That's when, Lockhart said, Camm said something to Biddle and chest-butted him. Lockhart claimed Biddle replied with, "Yeah, you're right Dave, I have no idea how you feel" and told Camm he was sorry.
"He knew that he said something wrong," Lockhart said. "It was just a half-second incident and it was over."
A short time later, Camm was arrested.
Lockhart testified that he was unable to attend the funerals of Kim, Brad and Jill, choosing instead to be present at Camm's initial hearing, where he said he told the judge that Camm couldn't have committed the murders because he was playing basketball that night.
Regardless, the prosecution moved forward, and in 2002, Camm was convicted. But in 2004, those convictions were reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals, and a new Floyd County Prosecutor -- Keith Henderson -- vowed to re-open the case with "fresh eyes." That's when, Lockhart said, he met with Det. Gary Gilbert, the prosecution's new lead investigator.
Lockhart said he was aware that the mysterious grey sweatshirt found at the crime scene bore traces of unknown DNA -- and Camm's first defense attorney, Mike McDaniel, had obtained a DNA profile of it -- a profile that would later identify Charles Boney. Lockhart said he gave a copy of that profile to Gilbert in early November.
"You go to a lot of the court hearings, don't you?" Kammen asked.
"Every one they allow me too -- yes sir," Lockhart said.
Lockhart said he was frustrated by what he claimed was the prosecution's changing timeline for the murders in the first trial.
"It changed in the middle of the first trial," he said. "It changed from after the game, to before the game to the middle of the game."
But through it all, Lockhart said he never saw David Camm leave the Georgetown Community Church gym that night. And he never saw him return.
A short time later, Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer rose to cross-examine Lockhart.
Meyer noted that Lockhart said he thought of Camm "as your own son."
"Yes I do," Lockhart replied.
Lockhart, Meyer noted, was also Camm's power of attorney.
"When he was talking about resigning from the Indiana State Police, did he come and talk to you too?" Meyer asked.
"Yes," Lockhart said.
About getting a job at United Dynamics?
"We had some conversations, yes," Lockhart said.
Meyer pointed out that Camm had only been working at UDI for a few months before he was given a supervisory role.
"So you elevated him over other employees?" Meyer asked.
"Yes," Lockhart agreed.
Meyer then spotlighted the background of all the basketball players who were at the Georgetown Community Church on the night of the murders. He noted that, of the group, three were Lockhart's employees, four were relatives (or distant relatives) and others were good friends.
Meyer also addressed the invitation Camm gave Lockhart to take his place in one of the games.
"Just to make certain, it was the defendant who asked you?" Meyer said. "You didn't volunteer?"
"Correct," Lockhart said.
"We're going to get to the bottom of straightening out these games," Meyer said. He then tried to get Lockhart to remember how the five-on-five teams were split up.
"You don't remember who you played with?" Meyer asked.
"No," Lockhart admitted.
Did he keep his eyes on David Camm on the sidelines the WHOLE time he was playing basketball?
"I knew he was sitting on the end of the gym...talking to Tom Jolly," Lockhart said. "I didn't sit and stare at him, you're right."
Meyer then walked Lockhart through the next game, when both he and Camm were playing and another player -- Scott Schrank -- sat out.
"You have no idea what Mr. Schrank was doing, do you?" Meyer said.
Lockhart admitted that he didn't realize when Schrank had left.
But if he missed Scharnk's departure from the gym, what is to say he wouldn't have missed Camm if he left? Meyer told Lockhart that he "made a point" to keep an eye on Camm.
"I didn't make a point," Lockhart said.
"It is possible for someone to leave that gym and not be seen, correct?" Meyer asked.
"Yes," Lockhart admitted.
Meyer asked another question. Earlier in his testimony, Lockhart said he arrived at the gym shortly after 7 p.m., and began playing basketball 45-60 minutes later, after 8 p.m. Meyer wanted to know if Lockhart recalled a conversation with Frank Renn, in which he was alleged to have said that he started playing basketball earlier -- at 7:30.
Lockhart said he never said that, and if Renn claimed he did, he must be mistaken.
At the end of the day, the jury asked Sam Lockhart several questions. Here is a partial list. Except where noted by quotation marks, both the questions and the answers have been paraphrased.
QUESTION: David Camm told you he was sitting out a game in order to run, stretch and get his heart rate up. Did you see him doing this?
ANSWER: Lockhart said he saw him talking to Tom Jolly while he sat out of the game. He also saw him running.
QUESTION: Doesn't playing full-court basketball get your heart rate up already?
ANSWER: **DIFFICULT TO HEAR.**
QUESTION: Where would David Camm have room to do this?
ANSWER: There are 12-15 feet on the sidelines where there are no bleachers.
QUESTION: Did you notice when Scott Schrank left the gym?
QUESTION: Had you loaned David Camm money before Sept. 28, 2000?
QUESTION: How much money have you spent for Camm's defense in the past 13 years?
ANSWER: "I don't know what the figure is. I have not added it up." "It was well over six figures." Said he sold part of his business to finance Camm's defense, and also took out a $165,000 mortgage.
Court was adjourned a short time after that. It is unclear if Lockhart's testimony is concluded.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web Producer for WDRB News. He can be reached at email@example.com.