By Maureen Hayden CNHI Statehouse Bureau
---- — LEBANON — After nearly two months of sitting through a long line of witnesses with conflicting stories and contradictory scientific evidence, a Boone County jury is getting close to wrapping up its work in the third murder trial of former state trooper David Camm.
Special judge Jon Dartt of Spencer County, appointed to oversee the high-profile — and high cost — trial told the jury Wednesday that it should expect to hear closing arguments Monday, before it’s sequestered to reach a verdict.
Jurors still have more work to do, though, before they get there. The eight women and four men on the jury heard final rebuttal witnesses Wednesday, and will spend Thursday and Friday reviewing the multitude of exhibits that have been introduced in the case.
That review includes a return visit to the local police department garage to see the Ford Bronco where Camm’s two children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, were shot to death 13 years ago. The body of Camm’s wife, Kimberly, was found nearby in the garage of the family’s home in Floyd County.
Prosecutors contend Camm killed his family, then staged the scene to make it look like someone else did. Camm, who left the state police four months before he was arrested in the Sept. 28, 2000 murders of his family, has twice been convicted of the crime, and twice seen those convictions overturned.
“You’ll be allowed to do your own investigation of the Bronco,” Dartt told jurors Wednesday.
The vehicle plays a key role in the case. The prosecution contends the miniscule spots found on David Camm’s T-shirt is blood that sprayed back on him from the fatal shot that killed his daughter, who was strapped into the back seat.
The defense contends the blood was transferred onto the shirt after Camm discovered the dead bodies, and when he reached over his daughter, making contact with her fatal head wound, to get to his son whom he believed was still alive.
The Ford Bronco is also where police discovered a bloody handprint that wasn’t identified until years after the crime; it belonged to a serial felon named Charles Boney, who was arrested in 2005 when police re-opened their investigation after Camm’s first conviction was overturned.
Prosecutors say Boney, who is serving a 225-year sentence in the slayings, conspired with Camm to commit the murders. The defense says Boney acted alone.
Throughout the trial, jurors have heard contradictory testimony from forensic science experts, called by both sides, who’ve sought to undermine the other side’s experts.
Wednesday was no different. The prosecution’s Tom Bevel, a private forensic consultant from Oklahoma, reiterated his earlier testimony that the spots on Camm’s T-shirt was blood that splattered back from the gunshot to his daughter’s head.
The defense’s Barie Goetz, a private forensic consultant from Colorado, repeated his earlier testimony that the blood spots were transferred there when Camm brushed up against his daughter while attempting to lift his son out of the Ford Bronco.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors also heard direct testimony from Carl Sobieralski, a DNA analyst and supervisor at the Indiana State Police crime lab in Indianapolis.
Sobieralski was critical of a defense DNA analyst, Richard Eikelenboom of Holland, who’s testified that he found Boney’s DNA on the waistband of Kim Camm’s underwear. Eikelenboom has testified that the DNA evidence he found points to Boney as Kim Camm’s attacker.
But Sobieralski was critical of Eikelenboom’s methods, saying his Eikelenboom’s private crime lab in the Netherlands wouldn’t meet U.S. accreditation standards.
The cost of the Camm case has emerged an issue and has been noted through the trial by the judge, prosecution and defense. While the trial was moved to Boone County to avoid a jury tainted by pre-trial publicity, Floyd County is responsible for the trial’s cost, now at about $1 million. County officials have said the trial’s costs have contributed to the county’s $3.5 million budget shortfall this year.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI Statehouse Bureau. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.