Oct. 9, 2013
LEBANON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Random story.
The date was Monday, March 6, 2006 -- the day a jury recommended that David Camm serve a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, following a guilty verdict in his second trial. I was working for a different television news station at the time, and had just spent the past two months -- barring weekends -- living with my colleagues in Boonville, Ind., covering that trial. Every Monday morning, we would get up early and drive the 100-miles-or-so from Louisville to Boonville, then drive back late Friday night.
Now, with the sentencing over, I was driving home from Boonville for the last time.
So there I was, careening down I-64 eastbound, eager to leave the cares of the past two months behind me. Let's just say I wasn't exactly driving within the speed limit.
So you can imagine the sinking feeling I got when I saw flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. Busted. In a station car. With the big-ole' station logo and the big-ole' call letters on the side.
I pulled over. The officer walked up to my window and calmly notified me of what I already knew: I was speeding. Then he said something that caught me off guard. He said (I'm paraphrasing):
"I bet I know why you're up here. I'll bet you've been covering that David Camm trial."
I nervously told him that I had.
"Well we're sick of hearing about it," he said. "We're REALLY sick of hearing about how he used to be an Indiana State Police trooper."
I told him he wouldn't have to be sick of me anymore -- that I was literally coming home for the LAST TIME. He seemed sympathetic. I got off with just a warning.
But the encounter did demonstrate the desire by members of the law enforcement community to -- understandably -- distance themselves from the case. So did a news release distributed by ISP in the weeks before the trial in which they reminded everyone, correctly, that Camm left the department four months before the murders occurred, and requested that the media remember that when reporting on the trial.
"It is the position of the Indiana State Police that the heinous murder of David Camm's wife and children and the devastation to the families and friends of the victims is the story and should be the focus," the release stated. "Where David Camm worked four months prior to the murders has no bearing on the crimes for which he stands accused and should not be used to distract from the focus of these heinous crimes."
A handout that was left on the media table of the third floor of the courthouse went even further, providing examples of correct and incorrect phraseology to use when describing Camm's employment history with ISP. Regardless of how they might feel about Camm's innocence or guilt, they don't want their name to be associated with the allegations in any way, shape or form.
It's a sticky story. When you're in the media, you don't ever want to forget the "former" in "former Indiana State Police trooper."
Witness: Richard Eikelenboom (cont'd)
Partner at Independent Forensic Service
Expert witness in the area of Touch DNA
Yesterday, Dr. Richard Eikelenboom -- a witness for Camm's defense -- testified that he found DNA consistent with Charles Boney on the left sleeve of Kim Camm's sweater, on the waistband of her underwear and in the stomach area of Jill Camm's shirt, despite previous testimony from Boney that he never touched Kim Camm.
This morning, Special Prosecutor Stan Levco continued his cross-examination of Eikelenboom, attempting to chip away at his qualifications and the reliability of his lab's work.
Speaking in a thick Dutch accent (Eikelenboom hails from the Netherlands), Eikelenboom defended his work.
Levco asked Eikelenboom if he'd ever had a course in molecular biology. Eikelenboom seemed confused. Levco asked again. Eikelenboom was still confused.
"M-O-L-E-C-U-L-A-R," Levco said, spelling it out. "Did you ever have a class called molecular biology?"
"We would call it -- if I have to translate -- molecular genetics," Eikelenboom replied.
"That would be the same to you?" Levco asked. "Genetics and molecular biology?"
Eikelenboom repeated that it is how he would translate it.
Levco moved on to the subject of DNA.
"How many seminars have you gone to in the last year?" he asked.
"None, I think," Eikelenboom replied.
Levco pointed out that Eikelenboom -- despite being named as an "expert for life" on forensic science in the Netherlands -- is not on the Netherlands' registry of experts. He wanted to know why.
"Well, there's a lot of politics involved in the Netherlands," Eikelenboom said, explaining that he attempted to get on the registry, but eventually withdrew his name from consideration, explaining that he felt the qualification process was "didn't go fairly."
"They had a lot of guidelines, and you couldn't qualify under the guidelines," Levco said.
"Oh, I think we qualified," Eikelenboom said. "We don't think this national database is fairly honest."
Meyer then questioned Eikelenboom about the quality of his labs, which are located both in the Netherlands and in Colorado.
"Would it be fair to say that the laboratory you built is a converted barn?" Levco asked of the Netherlands location.
Eikelenboom said it had been a "barn-garage." He explained that three full-time workers are employed at that lab, as well as a part-time cleaner. He said one of the full-time workers, a woman named "Joanna" (and here I should admit that I'm not sure on the correct spelling), assisted him with some of the tests on the Camm evidence.
How many people worked at the lab in Colorado? Eikelenboom said it was just him and his wife.
"So I guess there's no one there now?" Levco asked, noting that Eikelenboom's wife was in the observer's gallery, watching him testify.
Eikelenboom replied that there were people "watching" the facility.
"So your Colorado lab is just a rented garage?" Levco asked at one point.
Eikelenboom replied that it was, and that it underwent a renovation similar to the lab in the Netherlands.
He went on to testify that he performed 355 tests on evidence in the David Camm case. But Levco wanted to know more about "Joanna's" involvement.
"How many of those 355 tests did you personally conduct and how many did she conduct?" Levco asked.
Eikelenboom said "Joanna" performed all of them.
"All 355?" Levco asked.
"Yes," Eikelenboom replied, adding that he checked all of the results.
"So the accuracy of these tests depends on Joanna, not you, right?" Levco asked.
"The physical part, yes," Eikelenboom replied.
"Well, what other part is there?" Levco asked. "Is there a mental part?"
"So what did you do?" he added a moment later.
Eikelenboom reiterated that he analyzed the results of the tests. Levco wanted to know if, at any point, Eikelenboom disagreed with any of her findings.
"I might have changed a stutter here or there," he said, referencing a DNA-related term. He added that the David Camm case was not the only case his lab was working on at the time and that this was "normal process."
"You don't know if you changed anything that Joanna did?" Levco asked.
"In this case, no," Eikelenboom replied.
Levco argued that if he never changed anything, "you didn't have anything to do with this case did you?"
Defiant, Eikelenboom repeated that he analyzed the results, adding that they were "very thorough."
Levco then asked Eikelenboom to explain a process called "qualification," which Eikelenboom described as "a process before you make DNA samples" used to determine "how much DNA is in there." Levco then asked why Eikelenboom didn't do qualification in his analysis of this case.
"For our cases, it isn't helpful," he said. "It costs a lot of money. A lot of time."
Eikelenboom testified that he was contacted by the defense to do testing on items of evidence in this case sometime in March of this year.
"Who chose the items, you or the defense?" Levco asked.
"The defense," Eikelenboom replied.
Levco wanted to know if there were other items -- items other than Kim Camm's sweater, her underwear and Jill Camm's shirt -- that Eikelenboom examined. The scientist replied that he'd looked at sheets and pillowcases from the Camms' master bedroom, but only found DNA from David Camm and Kim Camm, as he would expect.
Was his analysis limited by money?
"It was more limited by time," Eikelenboom replied. "The evidence had to go back fairly quickly after we received it."
"If you had more time, would you have done more tests?" Levco asked.
"Yes," Eikelenboom replied, explaining that he would have tried more locations and gotten better results.
"Interesting things that you could have investigated but didn't investigate?" Levco asked.
"Yes," Eikelenboom said.
He admitted that he knew during testing what findings would be helpful for Camm's defense: the discovery of Charles Boney's DNA profile.
Levco then questioned Eikelenboom about the results of a proficiency test his lab took in 2012. Specifically, Levco zeroed in on one particular answer the lab gave on the test that Levco said was incorrect.
"Would you agree that your answers were wrong?" Levco asked.
"Yes," Eikelenboom said, although he added a moment later that, "It was not a mistake." He said his lab used a relatively new DNA kit to come up with the results, and the sensitivity of the kit itself was at fault. He said he brought this up with the kit manufacturer a short time later.
"You didn't make a mistake, the kit made a mistake?" Levco asked.
"And you didn't feel any responsibility for that?" Levco asked.
Eikelenboom replied that Independent Forensic Services is responsible for everything they do, and that "We addressed this problem."
Later, Levco asked Eikelenboom if a U.S. lab would have removed him from employment if he had made a similar mistake on a real case.
"I cannot imagine, but of course, I am not working in an American lab," he said, adding a moment later that, "I would not remove this person."
"Particularly if it were you," Levco said.
"It would not matter," Eikelenboom replied, adding that if the problem was with a kit manufacturer, he would communicate with that manufacturer.
"I would not remove my analyst," he said.
Levco then turned specifically to Eikelenboom's findings of DNA consistent with Charles Boney on the various items of clothing.
"Are there any factors which would make your results unreliable?" Levco asked.
"No," Eikelenboom replied.
"What about contamination?" Levco asked.
Eikelenboom agreed that contamination could be a factor, and Levco even brought up a picture of someone holding one of the items of clothing without wearing any gloves.
"How many different people...do you think could have contributed DNA to Kim's sweater, her underpants and Jill's shirt?" Levco asked. "Are you aware that these items of evidence...were photographed after the first trial?"
"If they were photographed all on the same surface, that would be a source of contamination, wouldn't it?" Levco added.
"It depends on the source," Eikelenboom said, emphasizing that he needed to know the "context." He theorized that simply laying the items of clothing one-by-one on the same surface wouldn't cause much, if any, contamination.
"We call this secondary transfer," he said. "Of course, the source of secondary transfer is very important."
Levco then walked Eikelenboom through several possible sources of contamination in DNA samples. Among them were artifacts (caused by pollution), dropout (in which peaks in a DNA profile "drop out"), dropin (in which erroneous peaks in a DNA profile appear), the temptation to run DNA tests through too many "cycles" and, finally, "noise," which is a type of pollution of the DNA profile.
Shortly after Levco's barrage of questions, defense attorney Stacy Uliana rose to re-question Eikelenboom and attempt to bolster the case for Camm's defense.
Arguing against the idea that Eikelenboom's DNA results suffered from contamination, Uliana pointed out that two rare allele's (DNA characteristics) consistent with Charles Boney were found on Kim Camm's sweater.
"It's not really that contaminated of a sample," Uliana said.
"No," Eikelenboom replied. "This sample was really pretty clean, compared to other samples that we got." He added that the chances of a DNA profile consistent with Charles Boney's appearing on the sweater through contamination were very rare.
Uliana also noted that the same profile -- consistent with Boney's -- was found on the stomach area of Jill Camm's shirt.
"As a scientist, how likely would that be?" Uliana asked.
"I would find that very unlikely," Eikelenboom replied.
Uliana then turned to the topic of Eikelenboom's credentials. Eikelenboom noted his reference to "molecular biology" as "molecular genetics" and explained that the Dutch system is "difficult to translate."
Uliana pointed out however, that Eikelenboom had been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Denver's biology department.
There was one humorous moment during the testimony -- one that demonstrated a clash of cultures. At one point, Uliana reiterated that, in the Netherlands, Eikelenboom had been designated an "expert for life" in the areas of blood stain pattern analysis and DNA analysis. To prove it, she offered into evidence a certificate issued to Eikelenboom, signed by the highest judge of the highest court in the Netherlands. She handed it to Levco to review.
Levco broke out laughing. It was written in Dutch.
"There's no way the jurors are going to understand this, is there?" he asked Eikelenboom.
Eikelenboom replied that they might be able to decipher some words. Like "president."
There was laughter all around, and Uliana had Eikelenboom read the document for the jury in English. A short time later, he was excused.
Witness: Gary Dunn
Private investigator for David Camm's defense team
Former special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Near the end of the day, Gary Dunn took the stand for Camm's defense.
Dunn, a private investigator for David Camm's defense team, explained to the jury in his trademark mustache that he had been a special agent for the FBI for 27 years, before leaving to become a private investigator. During his time at the FBI, he said he investigated cases of political corruption in Chicago, white collar crime, fraud, bank robberies, kidnappings and all sorts of violent crimes.
He said he left the FBI in 2003, and became involved in the David Camm case in 2004.
In Feb. 2005, he said Camm's defense team was surprised to get a phone call notifying them that Charles Boney had been identified as the owner of the "unidentified male DNA" on the mysterious grey sweatshirt found at the scene of the Camm murders.
Defense attorney Richard Kammen had called Dunn to the stand to -- among other things -- explain his side's view of how Charles Boney was told that it was a Lorcin .380 handgun that was used in the murders. Previously in this trial, Det. Gary Gilbert testified that investigators held this detail close to their vests, but Dunn informed Boney about the type of murder weapon that was used during an interview.
Today, Dunn testified that it was common knowledge at the time because it had been discussed publicly during the first trial.
"Extensively discussed in the first trial?" Kammen asked.
"Oh yes, absolutely," Dunn said.
The topic of the testimony then turned to phone records -- specifically Charles Boney's.
"Did you attempt to locate any phone records associated with any phones belonging to Mr. Boney?" Kammen asked.
"Sure," Dunn replied. And he said he wasn't the only one. The prosecutors did as well, he testified, noting that they not only obtained his phone records, but also the records of pay phones in any way shape or form associated with Boney, including pay phones near the Better Way food mart (where Boney said he met with Camm) and Karem's Meat Market (where Kim Camm frequented.)
"Did you find any evidence of any calls on any phones associated with Mr. Boney, to any phone associated with Mr. Camm?" Kammen asked.
"I did not," Dunn said, adding that he never found any calls from Camm to Boney either.
Kammen produced cell phone records, which Dunn said represented numerous phone calls between Boney and the Floyd County Prosecutors Office. The calls took place between Feb. 18, 2005 and March 4, 2005, and spanned the time beginning when Boney was first identified to the point when he was arrested.
Dunn pointed out that the cell phone number belonged to the stepfather of Boney's fiance, but Boney was the one who used it.
"Hold on, because Mr. Boney had a lot of fiances," Kammen interjected.
"Yes he did," Dunn said. "Some at the same time."
Dunn said there were 29 calls from Boney to the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office, and four calls from the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office to Boney during that period.
A short time later, Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer rose to cross-examine Dunn. He wanted to know how Dunn became involved in the Camm case in 2004.
"Through attorney Katharine Liell," Dunn said, referring to Camm's defense attorney in the second trial.
"I was hired to thoroughly look at this case," Dunn said. "She approached me with this and said, 'I would like for you to get involved.'"
Dunn added that he told her, "If it cuts for Camm...that's fine. If it doesn't, that's fine too."
How much money had Dunn made on this case since he began working on it in 2004? Dunn answered that the figure was roughly $250,000.
Meyer wanted to know if Dunn could name any publications during the first Camm trial that specifically mentioned the fact that a Lorcin .380 was used in the murders. Dunn said he was aware of a couple, including "Snitch", a Louisville-based crime weekly that has since gone out of print.
Under questioning from Meyer, Dunn admitted that the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office required Boney to phone in regularly once his DNA link to the grey sweatshirt was identified, and that might account for the phone calls listed in the phone records.
"He did what he was told, right?" Meyer asked.
"Well, he called in," Dunn said.
Meyer noted that there were pre-paid cell phones in 2005, and no cell phone records are kept for pre-paid phones, inferring that Boney could have used that as a means of communication with David Camm.
But Kammen was indignant.
"There is absolutely no evidence of any contact?" he asked Dunn.
Dunn replied that there was not.
A short time later, court was adjourned for the day.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web Producer for WDRB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.