Oct. 21, 2013
LEBANON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Over the next few days, as the third David Camm trial winds down and the jury prepares to deliberate, this blog will post interviews with several of the individuals involved in the proceedings. Today, we hear from Frank and Janice Renn, the parents of Kim Camm and the grandparents of Brad and Jill Camm.
Frank and Janice kindly agreed to speak with us by phone over the weekend, and allowed us to post the audio of that conversation. The transcript is included below. (NOTE: The comment section of this blog entry has been disabled.)
Travis: You guys have maintained that David Camm was the one who committed the murders since before the first trial in 2002.
Travis: At what point did you become convinced that he was the guilty party?
Frank: Before the trial started, I would say – I guess – the blood on the t-shirt…they were saying that all the blood on the t-shirt was Bradley's, because of what David did. But when they got the results on that shirt – it came back and had Jill's on there – I think that kind of convinced me at that time.
Really, during the trial – the way David kept changing his story to fit the evidence, I guess. That kind of made me kind of suspicious that he's covering up for himself. Well, he was basically covering his butt, I guess.
Travis: When you say he changed his story, what are some examples?
Frank: Well, a good example was, like, when he got Bradley out of the Bronco. His first story was that he reached back and went over the console, reached back and got Bradley up and picked him up over the driver's seat and took him out. Then, during the trial, he kind of changed it because the blood was where it was at – it was on the console area between the two seats. Then he said, well, he must have taken him out between the two seats and got him out. Then his third story was, well, he was in the back seat and took him out of the back side. So it's like three different stories there.
Travis: Assuming he committed these crimes, what, in your view, was his motive?
Frank: Well, when you look back on it, it could be a combination of his affairs, maybe. I think more, I think it was molestation – I think – with Jill.
The money – you might think about the insurance money – but I don't think that really came into play now, after looking back.
It's probably more with Jill, I think. I think he had a guilty conscience and he didn't want the fingers of his family pointing at him that way...but anyway, that's my opinion. It might not mean nothing.
Travis: Looking back at the weeks and years prior to the murders, was there anything about his behavior during this time period --
Frank: The only thing with his behavior to me was in, like, the last week. All of a sudden, he's like, really friendly. He's taking Kim places. Spending more time with the kids. Taking them around. Like that Sunday night, he came over and Dave and Kim went to a movie, and we babysitted Brad and Jill. It was just like he was trying to put on a show, or he was trying to do something like…I guess he was trying to make us feel like they was getting back together again. I knew they'd had…problems in between.
I guess he just wanted to put on a show. Or he just wanted to let everybody to see Kim, or whatever. It might be for the last time, for example.
Travis: How has your family been affected by this over the years?
Frank: Well, naturally it's been pretty tough on everybody, familywise. I think it affected more, our other daughter, Debbie. I think her illness got aggressively stronger or worse. [By "Debbie," Frank Renn is referring to Debbie Karem, Kim Camm's sister. Karem, who attended both the previous trials, suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been physically unable to attend this third trial, despite a strong desire to do so, according to the Renn family.]
Travis: I've sat through two trials, and in both proceedings, I've seen you and Janice bow your heads when some of the more difficult pictures – the hard-to-look-at pictures – are shown. You guys have sat through four of these, counting Charles Boney's trial. What brings you back every day for the proceedings, and how difficult is it to relive some of what you're seeing?
Frank: Well, we don't have a choice. We have to go back.
Janice: We go back for them. We're there for them.
Frank: It's just something we feel like we have to do. And, again, the pictures – we don't look at them. Sometimes we get caught off guard. I don't want to remember my daughter and grandkids that way. I want to remember them like the last time I saw them, or before that. I want to keep that picture in my mind.
Travis: The defense has brought up new evidence in this third trial. There was Charles Boney's testimony…it's the first time we've heard him testify in David Camm's trial. There was the "Touch DNA" evidence by Dr. Eikelenboom and IFS. And we heard from some experts who criticized the investigation, who weren't there in the second trial. Was there ever a moment where you heard this evidence and you thought, "Maybe we're wrong. Maybe he is innocent?"
Frank: Well, that never did cross my mind. New evidence comes in, which is good. But, I just always have problems with that – I know it's new – Touch DNA. But how accurate is it? I understand it's only like 20 percent accurate anyway. I mean, how do you go back 13 years and find Touch DNA on something?
Janice: We know Boney was there. We don't know what Boney did. But just because his prints are different places doesn't mean he was the killer.
Travis: What was your impression of Charles Boney when you heard him on the stand a few weeks ago?
Frank: Well, he hadn't changed. Since the Boney trial, that's the first time I'd ever seen the guy. He's a cool cucumber, I guess. He don't change his expressions any. He can look you in the eye and tell you a lie. But I've seen that look before, with David. That really didn't bother me too much.
They both told different stories, but the problem with the Boney story – and I'm not saying there's a problem. Some of it is true, I would think – I'm looking back now at the overall picture of it, and I can see Boney's been there. I can see things. But the more I look at it, if you look at Boney doing this on his own, and where they lived at, how in the world would Boney know that David wasn't going to be home that night? Or maybe Janice and I might have been over. Or maybe some of his cousins or uncles might be over there. How would Boney know that? You're going up a private driveway to start with. He done all this, and done everything he's supposed to have done, and not worry that somebody is going to come in on him? No. That just doesn't make sense to me.
Then after he does what he does, supposedly, he takes off his sweatshirt and throws it down on the garage and takes off? That picture – I can't see anybody doing that.
So he had to be either hired by David to do this, and David was going to turn up late and catch him in the act and shoot him, maybe. I don't know. Who knows why. But Boney couldn't have done this by himself.
Travis: There was a moment during his testimony – actually a couple of moments – where Charles Boney and David Camm locked eyes. I know at one point – actually I think it was one of the sheriff's deputies – got in between them and blocked their line of sight. Of course the next day the judge told both of them that the jury informed him they felt uncomfortable by that. What do you think was going on in that moment? First of all, did you see the moment, and, Number Two, what do you think was happening there?
Frank: I think it was more David's show than Boney's show. Like I said, Boney can sit there and look you in the eye for 24 hours and not even blink. And David is trying to put on a show and do the same thing. David was trying to let the jurors know, "I'm going to get him for what he did to my family." No. David put that show on more than Boney did.
Travis: What's your opinion of this jury and all of the questions they've been asking?
Frank: Anytime the jurors ask questions, I think it's good. They're paying attention. They want to know, basically, all the facts. And this jury has done really good on that. They asked a lot of questions, which I really like that. I think it's a good jury. And they've got somebody on that jury, evidently, who's got some kind of science degree, because some of the questions they're asking are really, really good questions.
Travis: Your family has been under a microscope, in a sense, for the past 13 years. How have you adjusted to that? First of all, how has the media treated you and your family, and are there times where you just get tired of the attention and the interviews?
Janice: Yes. [Laughs.] Yes.
Frank: Yeah, both ways. You get tired. I mean, every night, you can't really do anything because the media wants to know something. Which, I can't blame them. I know they want to know the answers, like, what we're thinking about all the time. I understand that. But it's hard. It's really hard to have to go through this every day.
Janice: It's hard to put your feelings into words too. And sometimes it just makes the burden even harder when you're hounded.
Travis: Obviously the Lockhart family has been firmly in support of David Camm. You guys obviously believe he's guilty. How is it that two sides look at the same evidence and see two different things?
Frank: Well, if you look at the neutral people, they have to look at it the same way. They can choose their side – I mean, if you're gonna choose a side. They have to listen to the evidence and everything. So it would be easier for you to talk to somebody who was neutral and try to get their opinion. Some of them might be for the Lockhart side and some of them might be for our side. But for us individually, we know David done this. And I'm sure on their side, they think Boney done this.
Janice: We believe that David did this.
Travis: If David Camm is reading this blog – he's reading these words – and you have the opportunity to send him a message, what do you say to him?
Frank: Probably the first thing I would say is, why? What is so important that you'd have to kill your family for? What is so important? Why did you kill your family? I can't imagine anything in the world that you'd shoot your family or kill your kids [for.] What's more important? That would be my question, and I'd want him to give me an answer for that.
Travis: What should happen to David Camm?
Frank: Well, right now, the best thing that could happen to him is where he's at. But if he's found guilty again, hopefully he will get life without parole. I don't really agree with the death penalty anymore, because I think that would be the easy way out.
Travis: What happens if the jury comes back with the words you don't want to hear – if they come back and say "not guilty?"
Frank: To me, I don't think that's gonna happen: not guilty. It could come back as a hung jury, but in my wildest dreams, I can't see them coming back with "not guilty."
Janice: But it can happen.
Travis: How do you think this trial has gone compared with the other two?
Frank: The second trial, I thought, went really well. I'm really surprised they overturned the last one. I really am…I don't see [that] nothing was wrong with the second trial.
Travis: Did the jury get the full picture in this trial, do you think?
Frank: They couldn't have, because you had to leave out the background – Boney's and David's. But they got the evidence.
Frank: The evidence was there. It doesn't change any.
Travis: I think that's about it…was there anything in particular that you guys wanted to say?
Janice: I just wanted to thank all of our family and friends for their support. And even perfect strangers who will come up and say they're praying for us. That just helps.
Travis: How has the public treated you guys? Do you get that a lot? Do you get a lot of people who just recognize you from maybe eating in a restaurant or something like that?
Janice: Not a whole lot. I mean – well – when the trials come up again, we do, more than in-between times. Most of them are very, very nice, supportive. Occasionally, you might get a person who believes that Dave is innocent, which is fine. Everybody is due their own opinion. But most of the time they're just in support of us, not necessarily he's guilty or innocent. They're just trying to help us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The interview concluded a short time after this. The next Q&A will be with Sam Lockhart, the uncle of David Camm and one of Camm's chief defenders. The comments section on all blogs involving interviews with family members will be disabled.
Travis K. Kircher is a Web Producer for WDRB / WBKI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.