The wrongful conviction of David Camm

David Camm is currently in prison awaiting a 3rd trial for the murder of his wife and two children. What he has been subjected to throughout the investigation and trials is simply incredible and has been an enormous injustice.

In September, 2000 David arrived home from a basketball game, pulled into the driveway and noticed the garage door was open.  When he entered the garage he found his family had been shot to death in the garage. Three days later he was arrested for the murders.  Despite having a solid alibi and no evidence linking him to the murders, he was tried and convicted twice largely due to prosecutorial misconduct, junk science, inadmissible evidence presented and character assassination.

Both convictions were overturned on appeal, due to the judge’s rulings that inadmissible evidence was presented.  Yet the overzealous prosecutor continues to pursue a conviction against him. And the inadmissible evidence caused the prosecutor to have to find a new “motive” for the murders in the second trial. I suppose this time they will have to come up with a third motive.

The first trial occurred in early 2002. The evidence presented:

  • Life Insurance – Prosecutor Orth told the jury that Camm took out $500,000 worth of insurance policies on his wife and two children, one policy only two months before the murders. Defense attorneys countered that only $150,000 of the policy was for Kim Camm, $250,000 was for David Camm and the rest was for the children. Kim, an accountant, was the one in charge of securing the life insurance, mostly on Dave, because he had lost his group policy when he left the Indiana State Police.
  • A 7:19PM phone call that prosecutors state Camm placed from home near the time of the shootings. During the trial the phone representative clarified that an error had been detected and the phone call was actually placed at 6:19PM (the time that Camm claimed he made the call, before leaving for the game).
  • Although 11 people saw Camm at a basketball game either playing or watching the entire time in question, prosecutors claim that he must have left the game, went home and killed his family and then returned to the game! However, during the one game that he sat out, a church elder spoke with him the entire time.  Not one person has ever wavered in their statements that he was there, that they never saw him leave, and never missed him at all.
  • Past affairs – the prosecutors made this part of the trial even though Camm wasn’t presently involved in an affair and it had no relevance whatsoever.  It was character assassination, nothing more. In fact, other former co-workers also engaged in such adulterous behavior and were a part of the same State Police Post which conducted the investigation. The first conviction would ultimately be overturned based on this.
  • Blood spatter – the blood spatter evidence seemed to contribute the most to his conviction, even though the defense expert testified that the blood found on his clothing was contact, not high velocity spatter.  It turns out that the State’s so called expert had never even handled a homicide investigation and long after the trial admitted he had fabricated his alleged expertise, education, and qualifications.  In fact, he hadn’t even attended the elementary 40 hour introductory bloodstain course which one evidence technican claimed would only make a person “dangerous” when rendering a blood stain interpretation.    He admitted he was only sent to the scene in order to take photographs and make notes.
  • Prosecutors were involved in the crime scene evidence just after the murder. A lot of the evidence was lost and nobody was ever held accountable for it, including a shower curtain in the house, away from the murder scene, which had the appearance of a blood stain and two condoms in the septic tank; the Camms never used condoms.
  • A sweatshirt was found at the scene, near the young boy.  Foreign DNA was found on the shirt but prosecutors did nothing to try to identify the origin of it and simply ignored this piece of evidence. When the defense found unknown DNA on the collar of the sweatshirt, the defense attorney asked the prosecutor to compare that DNA to the national CODIS database containing the DNA of convicted violent felons.  The prosecutor claimed there was no match when, in fact, no such search was conducted.

Despite Camm’s alibi and offsetting blood spatter “experts”, the jury returned a guilty verdict after 4 days of deliberations.  The jury had this to say:

One of the jurors who initially wasn’t convinced of Camm’s guilt.”I’m not going to say there’s not any doubt — there’s always going to be some doubt,” Kimbley said.Alcock reported that Kimbley was one of the last two jurors to vote guilty. Another juror, who didn’t wish to be identified, told Alcock that the intitial jury poll, right after they were given the case Friday, was 8-4 in favor of convicting Camm. By Sunday, the jurors stood at 10-2 in favor of convicting Camm.That’s when jurors told Judge Richard Striegel that they could not reach a decision.The jurors went on a dinner break, deliberated for several more hours, and then came back with a guilty verdict.”There was a lot of high emotions and there were times when people were very emphatic in their beliefs,” Kimbley (pictured, right) said. “The very most incriminating thing was the blood stains.”

So Camm was basically convicted due to one inexperienced person’s opinion of blood stain patterns on the shirt he was wearing that night.  But the alternative and likely explanation for the blood found on his shirt was that he got blood on his shirt through contact with his daughter’s hair when he retrieved his son from the back seat of the vehicle in order to render CPR.  His son, unlike his daughter and wife, wasn’t shot through the head. Additionally, the defense expert’s opinion makes more sense because they were 8 tiny droplets and they were not in a uniform pattern.  To shoot a person at close range, one would expect a massive amount of blood spatter to be present on the clothing.

How is anyone to believe that he left a basketball game, drove home, shot his family and then returned to the game still wearing the bloody t-shirt, but nobody at the game noticed the blood?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Certainly the statements from the 11 people who saw him that night should have superseded any “opinion” on the blood stains. To suggest that all 11 people are lying is unreasonable. These are 11 people from the community and the prosecutor somehow dismisses all of their statements AND the jury somehow is convinced to convict him.  How can that be?

In fact, the first prosecution story was the murders occurred after Camm returned home but they were forced to change that when the blood serum separation from the head wound of Kim Camm indicated the murders had to occur during the basketball games.  Thus, the players, who had told the truth during the first prosecution theory, were now liars when the prosecution changed their theory the murders occurred during the games.  In short, the basketball players all had to lie in anticipation of the prosecutor changing his story.

This conviction was overturned on appeal a little over two years later, in August ’04.  The judge stated that the affairs had no place in the trial.  The Indiana AG tried to get the conviction reinstated but the supreme court ruled against it.

In November ’04 the new prosecutor, Henderson made the decision to retry the case with “a fresh set of eyes”.  He claimed to have evidence from a jailhouse informant who stated that Camm admitted his guilt to him.  He also brought up allegations that Camm may have molested his daughter as a motive for the murders.  Of course, it didn’t matter that there was absolutely nothing to back up this claim.

The prosecutor claimed the “fresh eyes” would re-cover everything and be independent of the first investigation.  The lead detective of the “fresh eyes” was also a State Police Detective who would but work part-time on the case and never had any forensic evidence submitted for testing or matching prior to issuing his conclusion in the form of a “new” affidavit.

The “fresh eyes” detective included the same refuted allegation that a 7:19 p.m. call was made from the Camm residence; they were still using “evidence” which didn’t exist.

In preparation for a new trial, the defense team requested DNA testing on the sweatshirt that had the unknown male DNA on it.  In February, ’05 the DNA was found to match a man by the name of Charles Boney.  I’m going to copy portions of the Justice for David Camm website to describe the details about this newly identified suspect.

Three days after his sweatshirt and DNA was identified, Boney was found to be living in Louisville, less than 25 minutes from the Camm residence. At the time of the murders, he was living with his mother, who later admitted that she had sent him on errands to a nearby meat store which also happened to be owned by Kim’s sister and brother-in-law and which Kim and the kids frequented on a routine basis.

Boney was soon interviewed by the police and claimed that he had numerous people who could alibi him for the afternoon and evening of September 28, 2000. The police accepted his story even though the critical alibi witnesses weren’t interviewed and even though Boney had failed a stipulated polygraph examination as to his involvement in the murders. The polygraph examiner who administered the polygraph to Boney acknowledged that the “Fresh Eyes” investigators were both surprised and shocked at the results.

What happened next will astonish many people. At a press conference on February 28, 2005, Boney was defended by the prosecutors. They claimed that his story about giving the BACKBONE sweatshirt to the Salvation Army after his release from prison had checked out. They insisted that David Camm was still the one who was responsible for the murders of his family. As to an 11-time convicted felon who assaulted women, robbed women, kidnapped women at gunpoint and who threatened to blow their brains out, he was regarded by the prosecutors as simply having his sweatshirt show up at the crime scene through no fault of his own. Nothing was said to the public about Boney’s failed polygraph or the failure to verify his false alibi witnesses.

Deputy prosecutor Steve Owen asked this question at the same press conference, “What do you think? Mr. Boney’s going to come out of jail, go to somebody’s house in Georgetown, brutally murder three people and say, ‘Oh, I think I’ll take off my sweatshirt that I got from (the Department Of Corrections) and lay it down here by the blood (boy). Does that make sense to anybody?” Owen said it didn’t make sense to him, but it sure made sense to a lot of people that an enraged, violent person, engaged in a sexual assault of a woman, who then shot and killed her and her two children, just might leave evidence at the scene of a crime. After all, Boney had left his property and fingerprints at previous crime scenes.

The defense tried to get the prosecutors to act and filed a motion for Judge Aylsworth to authorize an arrest warrant for Boney. That failed. Boney’s identity and the fact that his sweatshirt had been linked to the crime scene (and prior to the defense being advised that his DNA had been identified) was leaked to the press, presumably by someone in the prosecutor’s office, and Boney was in the process of giving an exclusive interview to a Louisville television station.

Boney was found and then quickly interviewed by a retired FBI Agent who was working for the defense. During the videotaped interview of Boney, he was caught in numerous lies and he claimed that nothing more of his would be found at the crime scene, including other DNA or his fingerprints. In fact, he stated that if anything else of his other than his sweatshirt was found at the scene it would be obvious that he murdered the family.

Weeks after Boney was first interviewed and when the police took his finger and palm prints, the unknown palm print was finally compared to that of Boney. It was a match. It was therefore “obvious” that he was the murderer. Only the police still thought that David Camm was involved, due to the “compelling” evidence of blood spatter, according to Detective Gilbert. The prosecution and the investigators weren’t giving up on Camm being involved.

The “Fresh Eyes,” however, were compelled to arrest Boney. After his arrest and initial interview, he was allowed to be alone for several hours in order to compile a written statement. His assertions quickly changed, however, and at the end of the post-arrest interviews, the investigators told Boney that his story was a “crock of shit.”

After that first round of interviews, ISP Detective Myron Wilkerson, a distant relative of the Boney’s, found Boney’s mother and sister and, according to them, told them that they needed Boney to sign a “conspiracy note.” Boney’s sister was allowed to meet twice with her brother, including a contact visit, prior to his next interview. It was obvious that the ISP and the prosecutor needed to link Boney and Camm together and they were trying to get Boney to provide information of a “conspiracy” between he and Camm.

It took over 30 hours of interrogations and changing and contradictory stories for Boney to finally provide a story that was the stuff of fairy tales, saying that he only sold a gun to David Camm which was used in the murders. Nothing of what Boney said, including when and how he supposedly met Dave, where he obtained the gun, and other aspects of his story have ever been corroborated. Nothing of what he said could be construed as the two conspiring with one another. Boney put the murders all on Camm.

Parts of the interrogations of Boney are chilling, however. He was told by Wilkerson that he was an “opportunist” whose “best scenario is to be a witness.” He was further told that David Camm had an alibi which was “gonna be a problem.” Wilkerson told Boney that his goal was to keep Boney alive. Boney was given a stark choice. He could be a witness or face the death penalty. Incriminate Camm or die were his options. He chose the option that kept him alive. It was clear to many that the death penalty was spared in exchange for Boney incriminating Camm.

Another astounding facet to the Boney interviews is the fact that critical parts of Boney’s written statement and later his stories were first provided by the authorities. It was Wayne Kessinger, one of Henderson’s investigators, who first suggested to Boney that the gun was “dirty” or “untraceable” and that he might have had it wrapped in his sweatshirt. Boney later incorporated those two aspects with his story that after he bought the untraceable gun, he wrapped it in his sweatshirt prior to giving it to Camm.

What else did Boney claim? He said that he first met Dave in July, 2000, at a local park where they were playing full-court basketball. In addition to the ten players there were several others present as onlookers. How many witnesses were found that saw the two together? None. There were no witnesses.

Boney also claimed that he and Dave never spoke on the telephone but met in front of a convenience store immediately adjacent to Karem’s Meat Market owned by Kim’s sister. It was there that Dave spoke to him about getting a gun and later where the gun was provided. That’s smart. Meet and talk with a convicted felon and obtain a gun in a busy parking lot of a business owned by your sister-in-law where you’re well-known. As one might guess, there were no witnesses.

Boney also said that he knew that Dave was a former ISP trooper but that Dave trusted him enough, after ten minutes of conversation, to ask him to find him a gun. That contradicts Boney’s other statements to many others, including the defense investigator, that he would never trust a cop.

Dave agreed to a price of $250, but there was no discussion as to what make, model, caliber or type of gun. Boney claimed that he went to his long-time acquaintance, Larry Gerkin, who lived in Louisville, and purchased a .380. Wayne Kessinger, who spent 30 years with the Louisville Metro Police, was unsuccessful in finding Gerkin, much less identifying him. Gerkin was probably just a quick figment of Boney’s imagination. (One should ask why he would lie about the identify of the real source of the gun, however.)

After claiming that he sold Dave one gun on the afternoon of the murders, which was delivered in the same Karem’s parking lot, Boney claimed that he followed Dave to his house. For 15 or more minutes, he followed Dave home, but he couldn’t remember the vehicle that Dave was driving, thinking that it was a LeSabre. Dave, of course, drove a white pickup truck. Boney did recall, in the span only seeing Kim’s Bronco for mere moments, that her car had an FOP sticker on the license. Boney then said that he was outside the garage next to his car when Kim and the kids pulled into the driveway. He said he then heard three pops and Dave walked outside the garage and confronted him.

Incredibly, Boney also claimed that Dave then tried to kill him but that the gun jammed. Boney said Dave then ran into the house from the garage, presumably, according to Boney, to get another gun to kill him. Dave, a former SWAT member, panicked when a gun jammed and ran away was Boney’s story. Ask any law enforcement officer, or better yet, a SWAT member, how long it takes to remove a jam in a semi-automatic handgun. Mere seconds will be the answer.

Rather than fleeing the scene after Camm tried to kill him, Boney then said he followed behind Camm and walked into the garage. He said that he then tripped over Kim’s shoes and that he leaned down, picked them up and placed them neatly on top of the car. He then leaned into the vehicle and looked to see what was inside because of “curiosity.” That’s when his palm print was deposited on the door jamb, as he was looking in at Jill and Brad.

It was only then that he decided that it was time to leave. As he was driving away, however, he saw in his rear-view mirror a woman in a vehicle that looked like a state owned Crown Victoria. Boney was trying to incriminate a female trooper associate of Dave’s. She had previously been eliminated as a suspect because when the crimes had occurred, she was with friends eating a late dinner. (The new investigators suggested that she take a polygraph as to her possible involvement. She passed the polygraph.)

Boney’s story is not supported by any witnesses, any records, any documents, or any other corroboration at all. It is his unsupported story, fostered by the need to have him incriminate David Camm, which he finally provided. The story is that of a person who knew he had to incriminate David Camm in order to escape the death penalty, which he did. His stories were labeled by the police investigators as a “crock of shit” and as a “story of convenience” but they finally had him incriminating Camm.

After several interviews the police finally had Boney incriminating Camm. What happened next? Prosecutor Henderson dropped the charges against Dave which were pending in Warrick County. For a little over an hour the Camm and Lockhart families thought that justice finally had been achieved. They didn’t know that Henderson had already drafted another new probable cause affidavit, the third one, against Dave.

On March 9, 2005, David Camm was, for the third time, charged with the murder of his family. This was the prosecution’s fourth theory. Lead “Fresh Eyes” investigator Gary Gilbert swore under oath that Dave not only committed the murders but that he and Boney conspired with one another to commit murder. Boney didn’t provide any “evidence” of such a conspiracy. There were no witnesses, no documents, no records, and no connection whatsoever between the two.

Many wrongful convictions have been overturned based on new DNA evidence that was located at or near the scene of the murder but for whatever reason was never tested.  But in this case, prosecutors found a way to manipulate this suspect into implicating Camm by giving him the choice of incriminating Camm or facing the death penalty.  It is astounding.  David Camm had an airtight alibi at the time of the murder, confirmed by 11 witnesses who have never wavered in their statements. This combined with identification of the real killer, a gunman who attacked women at night, and who had a sexual fetish for shoes, by all logic should have resulted in an exoneration for Camm.

In January, 2006 Boney was tried and convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and three counts of first degree murder. The conspiracy “evidence” was based upon the deductions of one of the detectives who interviewed Boney, even though no records, documents, or witnesses were produced putting Camm and Boney together at any time.  The only one who claimed that the two knew one another was Boney and his stories changed each time he was interviewed.

Camm’s 2nd trial was taking place in a different town at the same time as Boney’s trial.  The jury never got to hear that Boney was convicted of the murders.  And they never got to hear the details of his past criminal actions that were entirely consistent with the attack of Kim Camm. The jury wasn’t allowed to hear any of Boney’s many changing and contradictory statements, listen, or view any of his interrogations.

Interesting testimony at this second trial came from a forensic expert for the prosecution in the first trial.  She testified that the prosecutor tried to convince her to testify that Camm’s DNA was found on the sweatshirt but she refused.

A forensic scientist was reduced to tears while recalling an encounter with the former prosecutor in the case, WLKY NewsChannel 32’s Julia Harding reported. Lynn Scamahorn took the stand and recalled a conversation with Stan Faith, who got a conviction of Camm the first time around in 2002.

Scamahorn told the jury that in 2002, Faith tried to get her to change her testimony about DNA evidence on Boney’s sweatshirt found at the crime scene. She testified that DNA was found belonging to Boney, his girlfriend — Mala Singh Mattingly — Kim Camm and Brad Camm, Harding reported.Scamahorn said Tuesday that Faith wanted her to say that David Camm’s DNA also was on the sweatshirt. She refused, and said her job was threatened when Faith told her that her refusal could be a Class D obstruction of justice.Scamahorn went on to say that Faith yelled and swore at her. When asked if it upset her at the time, Scamahorn started to cry on the stand.”Any attempt to influence her in any way to say something that’s not the complete truth is relevant, and the jury needs to hear it,” Uliana said.But when he was reached for comment Tuesday, Faith told WLKY that he didn’t swear at Scamahorn or threaten her job.

So first they continue to go after Camm, despite having successfully prosecuted Boney for the murders, and now this coercion of an expert witness becomes known. This shows how far prosecutors were willing to go to convict him.  But that’s not all. Tom Bevel (blood spatter “expert”) also testifed at Camm’s second trial that the blood on Camm’s shirt had to come from high velocity spatter and that he had to be present when the victims were shot.  This was countered by defense experts Paul Kish and Bart Epstein who asserted that the blood was transferred to his clothing by contact when he found the bodies.  Remember that prosecutors allege that Camm left the basketball game to go home and do the shootings.  Common sense tells you that he couldn’t possibly have returned to the game in bloody clothing!  Yet, there is no explanation offered about that.

Tom Bevel’s expertise is currently under scrutiny in the Horinek case and experts have shown that Bevel’s findings are incorrect. It turns out that his findings are also questionable in a number of other cases. Many believe that blood spatter evidence is junk science because it is so subjective.  It’s disturbing that so many people have been convicted soley on this, but the jury obviously believed Bevel and despite the conviction of the real murderer (Boney), David Camm was again found guilty of the murders.

The trial judge at Camm’s trial was forced to dismiss the conspiracy charge when the prosecutors failed to produce any linkage whatsoever between Camm and Boney.

During the trial, graphic photographs of all the victims were shown to the jury, including photographs of Jill’s genitalia, which had non-specific, blunt force trauma to the exterior genitalia.  It was impossible to determine the source of the injuries but the likelihood they had been present prior to the night of her death was extremely unlikely.  The day of her death, Jill had been a very athletically active little girl at school, dance class, and at her brother’s swim practice.  One of the prosecutor’s medical examiners initially claimed that such an injury would have “hurt like hell” and been impossible for Jill not to complain about.  That examiner later changed her story at trial.

(Also not told to the jury was the story from Boney’s first wife.  She told of returning home one day to find Boney slapping and hitting their one-year old son.  Boney had a history of abusing a child and admitted, according to another witness, that when he got angry he would fly into a rage and literally see white, not knowing what he was doing.)

Regardless, the prosecutor claimed, without any evidence and without any linkage between those injuries and her father, that Camm was responsible and was a molester.  The stain stuck.  When explaining their guilty verdicts, the jury foreman stated the molestation was a “key factor” in reaching their verdicts.

Again the conviction was overturned on appeal.  This time it was due to prosecutors making the unfounded accusations that Camm molested his daughter.  That was the alleged motive in trial number 2 since prosecutors were forbidden from using the affairs again.

The Indiana Supreme Court has thrown out the murder convictions of a former state trooper in the deaths of his wife and two children and ordered a new trial.

David Camm has twice been convicted for the killings, but the court in a 4-1 ruling released Friday said the judge in the retrial improperly allowed prosecutors to raise the prospect that he had molested his daughter despite not presenting evidence he had done so.

But Camm’s nightmare still wasn’t over.  The AG requested a re-hearing of the appeal:

The Indiana Supreme Court won’t reconsider its ruling that overturned the murder convictions against a former state trooper accused of killing his wife and two young children.The court voted 3-2 Monday to deny the attorney general’s request for a rehearing of David Camm’s appeal.

In 2009 prosecutors made the decision to try Camm a 3rd time.  But the prosecutor, Keith Henderson had been working on a book deal which, according to Camm’s attorneys, violated Indiana rules and ethics.

Camm attorney Stacy Uliana wants a special prosecutor appointed because Henderson struck a deal to write a book about the case.”There’s no book deal,” Henderson said. “There was, and it would be my hope in the future there will be.”

Henderson saw nothing standing in his way in pursuing a third conviction against Camm for the deaths of his wife and their two children.”Once the conviction of David Camm occurred in March of 2006, my representation ended with the state of Indiana in the Camm case,” Henderson said. He said he called off the book deal when the Indiana Supreme Court overturned Camm’s conviction in June. But Uliana contends Henderson never stopped representing the state of Indiana.

“The American Bar Association has set forth standards for prosecutors that they should follow, and they exclusively state that a book deal that a prosecutor has during a case should be scrupulously avoided, because it creates this inherent conflict between one’s interest in selling a book and the interest of society,” she said.

More recently, Camm’s attorneys have successfully argued, through the Indiana Court of Appeals, and most recently upheld by the Indiana Supreme court, that a special prosecutor be assigned.  In a compelling conclusion, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Henderson had “a clear and convincing…conflict” and had “permanently compromised his ability advocate on behalf of the people of Indiana.”

Prosecutor Henderson, in addition to being off the case permanently, is also facing a Disciplinary Commission inquiry.  He’s not paying for that alleged misconduct, however, since the county taxpayers are on the hook for the $375 an hour attorney he retained.

So Camm is awaiting the 3rd trial and remains in prison at this time. Words can’t adequately describe the injustice that has occurred throughout the investigation and trials relating to this case.  It is my opinion, based on all the evidence, Boney’s conviction, Camm’s solid alibi, unreliable blood spatter evidence combined with the blatant prosecutorial and judicial misconduct that led to his first and second convictions that Camm has not been given fair trials and it’s quite evident that he is innocent.  It is beyond outrageous to subject him to another trial and for the taxpayers to bear the burden of another trial that is estimated to cost $1 million dollars, but that is what the State of Indiana is planning.  David Camm deserves to be set free now.

I will continue to follow this case and will post updates.

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