DISMISSED: US federal court drops $30 million lawsuit brought by David Camm
Camm was acquitted of killing his wife and two children after he served 13 years in prison for the crimes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A $30 million lawsuit filed by David Camm, the man twice convicted and once acquitted of murdering his wife and two children, has been dismissed by a federal court.
According to a news release from the Indiana Attorney General's office, Camm's civil rights lawsuit against members of the Indiana State Police, prosecutors and other officials, was dismissed on Monday, Jan. 29, by a U.S. District Court.
Camm, a former Indiana State Police trooper, was accused of killing his wife, Kim Camm, and two children, Brad and Jill Camm, on Sept. 28, 2000. Camm was twice convicted of the murders and spent 13 years in prison before he was finally acquitted in 2013.
A second suspect, Charles Boney, was convicted of the three murders.
Camm's $30 million lawsuit against the state claimed that members of the legal system and of law enforcement were negligent in their investigation, and engaged in malicious prosecution.
The U.S. District Court ruled on Monday that the lawsuit should be dismissed because "probable cause existed to charge Camm with murder" and some of the defendants are immune from liability because of the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
The investigation began on Sept. 28, 2000 at 9:30 p.m., when the Indiana State Police Sellersburg Post received a frantic phone call from Camm. He said he had just returned home from playing basketball at the Georgetown Community Church (roughly a four-minute drive away), to find his wife Kim, his son Brad (age 7) and daughter Jill (age 5) shot to death in his garage on Lockhart Road in Georgetown, Indiana.
Three days after the murders, Camm was arrested. Over the course of the investigation, then-Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith said he discovered that Camm was a serial adulterer -- with over a dozen women coming forward to say Camm either propositioned them or had sexual relations with them. They also said Kim was about to leave him, and that 5-year-old Jill had been sexually molested within a 12- to 24-hour time period prior to her death.
Additionally, prosecutors say tiny microscopic blood stains on David Camm's t-shirt known as "high-velocity impact spatter" proved that Camm was not only at the scene when the shootings took place, but was within four feet of his daughter Jill at the moment she was shot. Prosecutors not only accused Camm of cheating on his wife, but also alleged that he'd molested his daughter. They claimed that Kim found out about the alleged molestation and David Camm opted to take matters into his own hands.
But the case was far from "clear cut," according to the defense. Camm couldn't have committed the murders because 11 alibi witnesses -- including Camm's uncle, Sam Lockhart -- claimed they were playing basketball with him at the time the murders took place. The defense called the blood spatter evidence "junk science," and demanded that the prosecution test DNA evidence on an unidentified gray sweatshirt found on the scene -- one that was not David Camm's.
But the jury did not favor Camm, and in 2002, he was convicted of three counts of murder, and sentenced to 195 years in prison.
That changed in 2004, when the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the guilty verdict in the first of what would be several twists in the case. Among other things, the court argued that the adultery evidence should not have been presented, as it unfairly prejudiced the jury against Camm.
In the meantime, the new Floyd County Prosecutor, Keith Henderson, had the DNA on the gray sweatshirt tested -- and the tests unveiled some surprising results. Henderson said the shirt belonged to Charles Boney, an ex-convict with a violent history. Additionally, prosecutors matched a handprint found at the scene to Charles Boney.
In March 2005, Boney was arrested and charged with the murders. At the same time, all charges against David Camm -- who was at that point on bond awaiting his second trial -- were dropped. His reprieve was brief, however, and later the same day, Indiana State Police vehicles quickly arrived to take Camm back to jail as he was re-arrested and charged with the murders of his wife and children -- only this time, the charges stated that he had an accomplice: Charles Boney.
In 2006, Camm and Boney were tried at roughly the same time, but separately: Boney faced trial in New Albany, while Camm, in an attempt to escape media hype, was tried in Boonville, Indiana.
Both men were found guilty.
But again, in June 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict in his second trial, on the grounds that the prosecutor's speculation that Camm molested his daughter -- without providing sufficient evidence -- unfairly prejudiced the jury.
Camm was tried a third time in 2013 -- this time in Lebanon, Indiana. During that trial, Camm's defense attorneys again chipped away at the blood stain pattern analysis evidence brought by the prosecution. That trial also saw the introduction of a new witness: Charles Boney, the man who is currently serving a life sentence
In the end, the jury acquitted Camm, and he was freed.
"Thirteen years, man. Thirteen years," David Camm told WDRB reporter Stephan Johnson weeks later. "It's hard not to get up every morning and not be happy. That's not to say there aren't difficult times, and this has not been easy, man. It's not. But it's hard not to be grateful and try to make the best of every day. And I do that each and every day."
The U.S. District Court's decision on Monday means Camm will not collect $30 million in damages, as well as attorney fees and costs.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill applauded the court's decision.
"Police investigators and prosecutors properly charged this individual with murder," Hill said. "I hope the dismissal of this lawsuit helps assure our brave officers that both state and federal laws protect them whenever they are discharging their duties in good faith."
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