Oct. 16, 2013
LEBANON, Ind. (WDRB) -- The media goes through the same ritual every morning.
Every morning, David Camm is transported to the Boone County courthouse from jail by Floyd County Sheriff's deputies. And every morning, the media is there to greet him. The ritual is the same. Camm gets out of the vehicle in a shirt and tie, flanked by deputies, his handcuffs covered by a jacket. Members of the media give him an opportunity to speak, sometimes by throwing out a question: "How do you think the case is going so far, David?"
Always, the answer is silence.
Moments later, members of the media make their way to the third floor of the courthouse, where the trial takes place. By the time Camm is brought into the courtroom, the jacket is on, and the handcuffs are gone.
The ritual won't continue much longer. Today, the jury heard the final witness in the case of the State of Indiana vs. David R. Camm. This court proceeding that began with jury selection on Aug. 12, is rapidly coming to a close.
This is how the day panned out:
Witness: Tom Bevel
President of Bevel, Gardner & Associates
Blood Stain Pattern Expert
Court was gaveled into session at 9:12 Wednesday morning. A short time after that, prosecutors called their next rebuttal witness: Tom Bevel, President of Bevel, Gardner & Associates, a blood stain pattern expert the jury heard from on Sept. 18.
Back then, Bevel told the jury that the microscopic stains in Area 30 of David Camm's t-shirt (the area on the front, near the hem) were examples of high-velocity impact spatter: blowout from a gunshot wound, indicating that Camm was within four feet of his daughter Jill when she was shot.
Today, Special Prosecutor Stan Levco asked Bevel to show the jury still images and videos he used to reconstruct the crime scene.
The still images were shown first. A series of images appeared to show the inside of a Bronco. A man was holding the front seat back and leaning into the car with a gun, pointing it at a mannequin head that was in the back seat of the car, in order to demonstrate where prosecutors believe Camm was standing when he shot his daughter, Jill. A line had been drawn from roughly where the gun was pointed to the mannequin head, and then a second line drawn, pointing from the head to the hem of the man's shirt.
Bevel explained that the first line was there to show the approximate path of the bullet, while the second line was there to show that there wasn't anything in the vehicle to block blood spatter from landing near the front hem of the shooter's shirt.
Levco asked Bevel if -- given the fact that the front seat was broken -- he could tell if the shooter fired with his left or right hand.
"It certainly is easier to do it with the right hand," Bevel said, adding that it could have been done either way.
Levco asked if it was "awkward" with the left hand.
"No," Bevel replied.
But the defense, throughout this trial, has provided an explanation for how those microscopic blood stains appeared on Camm's shirt. They say they're "contact stains" that were made on the shirt when Camm leaned over his daughter to pull his son Bradley out of the vehicle, and his shirt made contact with Jill's bloody hair.
Today, Bevel showed the jury a video of a crime scene reconstruction in which he attempted to show just how difficult it is to recreate this scenario.
In the video, a man can be seen getting into a vehicle, leaning over a mannequin (representing Jill) in order to pull another mannequin (representing Brad) out of the vehicle.
"I went online in search of mannequins," Bevel said.
He said he needed mannequins that shared the same weights as Brad and Jill, the same heights, and had bendable arms and legs.
"I purchased two mannequins of the approximate height of both Jill and Brad," he said, though he admitted that they were considerably lighter than the children.
He said he also needed a volunteer to play "David Camm" -- the person who was leaning into the car to pull "Bradley" out.
"The person who was accessible was my 20-year-old son," he said.
"So by 'volunteer,' you mean you said, 'Do this,'" Levco said.
"Right," Bevel said.
Bevel said he put real women's hair on the mannequin's head and transferred blood onto the hair. Then he had his son climb into the car and pull the "Bradley" mannequin out. He testified that this was tried four times, but each time, no blood got on the t-shirt. So he said he instructed his son to make an effort to get the shirt to impact the hair on purpose. It took 10 more attempts, Bevel said, to finally get the shirt to make contact with the bloody hair.
Moments later, the video was played for the jury. It showed attempt after attempt, as Bevel described.
As the video was played, David Camm could be seen shaking his head. At one point, he rolled his eyes and looked up at the ceiling.
Defense attorney Richard Kammen rose a short time later to cross-examine Bevel.
"When you were here earlier, you told the jury this is a big case," Kammen began. "It's been discussed at conferences...hotly debated."
"I would say that it has been," Bevel agreed.
Kammen then asked if it would be "huge" if -- in a nationally known murder case -- Bevel would have to retract his opinion that the blood on Camm's shirt was high-velocity impact spatter.
"I think it would be huge for anybody," Bevel said, adding a moment later that, "I am human, and I do make mistakes."
Kammen later pointed to Bevel's still images and, under questioning, Bevel admitted that he didn't know characteristics of the bullet and spatter paths, including azimuths, deviation of azimuths and angle of trajectories.
"I did not take any azimuth measurements," Bevel admitted at one point.
The discussion then turned toward supposed blood spatter. Bevel testified that blood spatter typically travels in the shape of a "parabolic arc" as air resistance drags it down.
"Yes, well your lazer is not a parabolic arc, is it?" Kammen said, pointing to the photo.
"I'm not indicating that it's the flight path," Bevel said.
"Well, we'll come to the flight path," Kammen said. (Bevel would later reiterate to the jury that the line was there to show that there was nothing in the vehicle to block spatter from reaching the shirt, not to show the actual flight path of the spatter itself.)
Under cross examination, Bevel admitted that the mannequin he purchased to represent Bradley Camm weighed only 25 lbs., while Bradley himself weighed 70 lbs. Kammen suggested that the difference in weight made the experiment unreliable.
"It's hard to move a body, isn't that true?" Kammen asked.
"It is, yes," Bevel said.
Kammen then took a shot at Bevel's credentials.
"You have written a book about blood stain pattern analysis," he said.
"I've written three," Bevel replied.
Kammen produced a review of one of Bevel's books, in which the reviewer stated that "there is little doubt that blood stain pattern analysis is a science," but that Bevel's book represented, "a particular manifestation of pseudo-science" that was, "missing a critical component: scientific integrity."
Bevel would later respond by saying, "Just about any textbook that is written, you will find comments on it, pro and con."
Moments later, Levco would produce a review that would call Bevel's book a "valuable reference book."
Bevel was excused from the stand a few minutes later.
Witness: Ann Allen
Resident of Georgetown, Ind.
Former tenant of David and Kim Camm
On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard very brief testimony from Ann Allen, a former tenant of the Camm family. Allen testified that in Sept. 2000, she and a man were living in a home they were renting from David and Kim Camm.
She said that on Sept. 27, 2000, she attempted to contact them to tell them she would no longer be renting, but she couldn't reach anyone. She also tried to call on Sept. 28, 2000.
"I left messages," she said. "I never got ahold of anybody."
One of those messages was left at 7:50 on the night of Sept. 28, 2000.
Kammen had only a brief cross-examination.
"You did not testify at any of the prior trials?" he asked.
"No," she replied.
She was excused from the stand shortly thereafter.
Witness: Frank Renn
Father of Kim Camm
Grandfather of Brad and Jill Camm
Frank Renn's testimony was just as brief as Allen's.
"You're the father of the late Kimberly Camm?" Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer asked."
"Yes," Renn said, adding that he was also the grandfather of Brad and Jill Camm.
Renn testified that he had a conversation with Sam Lockhart, David Camm's uncle, "probably three weeks after David was arrested." Renn said Lockhart talked to him about how he played basketball at the Georgetown Community Church gym on Sept. 28, 2000 -- the night of the murders.
"He just brought it up," Renn said. "I really wasn't thinking about the basketball game at that time."
Renn said Lockhart told him that he -- Lockhart -- arrived at the gym at 7:15 that night, and began playing shortly after.
Kammen's cross examination was brief.
"You obviously were present during the first trial, is that correct?" Kammen asked.
"Yes," Renn replied.
Kammen noted that Renn never testified about the conversation back then.
"No," Renn said. "There's a reason for that."
Kammen didn't delve into that, but noted, "'Shortly after' can mean different things to different people."
"Sure," Renn said.
With that, Frank Renn was excused from the stand.
Witness: Carl Sobieralski
DNA Analyst, Forensic Science Auditor
Indiana State Police
Carl Sobieralski, the prosecution's final rebuttal witness, took the stand Wednesday afternoon. As a DNA analyst for the Indiana State Police, one of Sobieralski's specialties is forensic science auditing. Prosecutors called him to the stand to get his opinion on the work of Independent Forensic Consultants (INS), a DNA testing lab with locations in The Netherlands and Colorado, and headed up by Dr. Richard Eikelenboom, a defense witness. (Last week, Dr. Eikelenboom testified that he found "Touch DNA" evidence consistent with Charles Boney on the sleeves of Kim Camm's sweater, on the waistband of her underwear and in the stomach area of Jill Camm's shirt.)
"Now you've been, obviously, contacted in this case to perform some work," Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer began.
Sobieralski agreed, indicating that he'd been asked to review documentation at procedures of INS.
"Have you testified before in court as an expert in DNA analysis?" Meyer asked.
"I have testified more than 100 times," Sobieralski replied.
Meyer asked if, after reviewing methodologies and conclusions made by INS, he found them "alarming."
"Yes sir I did," Sobieralski said.
Sobieralski criticized IFS as for failing to use what are called "reagent blanks" with each test -- a technique that helps to calibrate the instruments used.
"That's a bit concerning to me," he said, pointing out certain guidelines that indicate, "you shouldn't interpret data without a reagent blank."
He went on to criticize IFS for failing to use "quantification" when conducting DNA testing. He said quantification is recommended by various DNA testing kits, and would protect the DNA tests from "artifacts" that might produce erroneous results.
"You're familiar with the fact that IFS took recent cuttings from the underwear that was in evidence?" Meyer asked, referring to Kim Camm's underwear, where Eikelenboom testified he found DNA evidence consistent with Charles Boney.
Sobieralski testified that he was aware of this, and found the INS testing on the clothing "problematic" because the clothing could have been contaminated.
"I've seen pictures of this evidence laying on a courtroom carpet," he said, adding that he would be "very reluctant" to perform testing on 13-year-old evidence that had been treated in this fashion.
Meyer then asked Sobieralski to address validation studies performed by IFS. Sobieralski described these validation studies as, "alarming."
"There are several issues that I would require a laboratory to go back and address on these validation studies," he said.
"Do you believe the findings of IFS are scientifically reliable?" Meyer asked.
"I do not," Sobieralski replied.
Uliana then rose to cross examine Sobieralski. She began by pointing out who Sobieralski works for: the Indiana State Police -- the same agency that arrested David Camm.
"...and the same organization that has continued to charge Mr. Camm for the last 13 years, despite the discovery of Charles Boney," she said.
She added that the Indiana State Police is the same agency that failed to find Charles Boney's DNA on the grey sweatshirt discovered at the scene.
Sobieralski said he wouldn't characterize it that way, but later admitted that it was a private lab -- Cellmark -- that matched the DNA profile to Charles Boney.
Uliana then addressed Sobieralski's concerns that IFS tested Kim Camm's underwear years after the murders.
"Did you know that ISP tested David Camm's shirt repeatedly, as late as July and August of this year?" she asked.
She also pointed out that it wasn't just Kim Camm's underwear that was photographed on the floor of the courthouse in 2002, but several other pieces of evidence in the case.
Sobieralski admitted that, "I'd be wary of testing evidence that's been in an open environment," but added that, "I didn't say I'd absolutely refuse to. I'd be very reluctant to."
Uliana was also quick to come to IFS' defense when it came to their qualifications. She asked Sobieralski if he would have any reason to dispute any claims by Eikelenboom that IFS passed a forensic audit by a DNA expert sent from an accreditation body in the Netherlands.
"I'd have no reason to dispute that," he said.
A short time later, his testimony ended.
"The State of Indiana has no further rebuttal," Levco said.
Witness: Barie Goetz
Independent Forensic Consultant
David Camm's defense team called only one rebuttal witness.
Independent forensic consultant Barie Goetz has testified previously in the trial, in which he attempted to recreate the microscopic dots on David Camm's shirt using the bloody hair of a doll, to refute the prosecution's claim that those dots were actually high-velocity impact spatter caused by blowout from a gunshot.
Previously, he did the demonstration with a 100 percent cotton t-shirt. Today, he told the jury he'd completed another demonstration using a t-shirt with a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend identical to the blend found in Camm's t-shirt. He played a video of the demonstration for the jury.
"This video was taken yesterday," he said. "I'm wearing a 50/50 cotton/polyester t-shirt."
"The goal was to see if you got blood on your shirt, what it would look like?" Kammen asked.
"Correct," he said.
In the video, Goetz could be seen wearing a t-shirt and leaning into the doll, which was lying on a table.
"Every time I did this, I did get a blood transfer," he said. "These stains are less than half the size of a millimeter. They're very small."
"Some of the stains in Area 30 [of David Camm's t-shirt] are very similar to that type of stain," he added.
Kammen wanted to know if he brought the t-shirts with him to court today.
"Yes, they're in a car in the parking lot," he said.
But Levco was critical of the experiment.
"I didn't notice anything that would replicate the back seat of the Bronco," he said, adding later that, "it looked like your motion was pretty similar to a push up."
A short time later, Goetz was excused.
He was the final witness of the David Camm trial. The time was 3:38.
"That's going to conclude your courtroom portion of the trial this week," Judge Jonathan Dartt told the jury.
He explained that they would hear closing arguments in the case on Monday. At some point before then, jurors would be allowed to view the Kim Camm's Bronco – the one where the bodies were found – a second time. That would happen sometime later this week, but the media and the public were not invited.
Unlike the previous viewing, Dartt explained, this time the jurors will be allowed to "conduct their own investigation" by actually opening the doors of the Bronco and looking inside. A representative from both the prosecution and defense side will be there to observe the jurors, but will not be able to interact with them.
"They will not be speaking with you, and you will not be speaking with them," the judge said. "They will be observers."
The exact time and date of the viewing is not being disclosed.
On Monday, after closing arguments, the jurors are to begin deliberations. Deliberations will take place daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
"You will be sequestered starting next Monday night and evening," Judge Dartt explained, telling jurors they will need to bring changes of clothing to court with them on Monday, as they will be taken to a hotel at the end of the day on Monday.
A short time later, the jurors were excused for the week.
"The jury's got some things to be thinking about and planning now," Judge Dartt said.
There is one more event that stood out in my mind -- and it is something I witnessed as we were preparing to leave.
I was standing outside the courthouse by the street, watching the entrance with my camera as I so often do, waiting for witnesses or attorneys to walk out so I can snap their pictures. At the time, Leland Lockhart, one of David Camm's uncles, was leaning on a wall, next to the doorway, when Frank Renn -- Kim Camm's father -- came out the door. The two were suddenly and unexpectedly face to face.
Now bear in mind, these two families sit on opposite sides of the courtroom. They don't interact. You rarely even see them look at each other, much less speak to each other. It's not that they're rude or disrespectful. It's just that there's a wedge between them, and they're both on opposite sides of a huge, unbridgeable divide.
So when I saw Frank Renn and Leland Lockhart face-to-face, I steeled myself for an awkward moment.
That moment never came. They both shared words, and clapped each other on the shoulder, before going their separate ways.
Now THAT'S class.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web Producer for WDRB News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.