Floyd Co. Taxpayers Could Face Another Costly Camm Trial

By Craig Hoffman

(LOUISVILLE, August 12th, 2004, 5 p.m.) -- Floyd County, Indiana, is bracing for the possibility of a second murder trial for David Camm. On August 10, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, citing improper testimony about extramarital affairs at his 2002 trial. As WAVE 3's Craig Hoffman reports, if there's another trial, it will come at taxpayers' expense.

If Indiana's Supreme Court upholds the lower court's ruling, David Camm will return to stand trial a second time on charges he killed his wife and two children.

The prosecutors' bill for the 2002 trial totaled $545,395. Public defenders were paid $168,857 and it cost another $129,951 to bring in, feed and house jurors from Johnson County. There was also another $60,000 in miscellaneous expenses.

When $2.7 million dollars in state cutbacks to Floyd County is factored in, Floyd County Auditor Teresa Plaiss says it's a big expense for the county to shoulder. "We try to be really conservative in our spending, but it does put a burden on the county, a burden on taxpayers -- they like to see their tax dollars spent on something other than a jury trial."

Court fees and grants covered some of the trial costs in 2002. Plaiss says taxpayers paid $398,634 for the 2002 trial.

Not long ago, Floyd County voters rejected a riverboat casino on its waterfront. But the county gladly accepted $224,810 from Caesars -- Harrison County gambling money -- to help pay for David Camm's first trial.

Floyd County Council Member Ted Heavrin says the trial forced elected leaders to freeze salaries, delay road projects, and tighten spending countywide. But that doesn't mean Camm shouldn't stand trial again. "I think if you ask the ordinary person on the street, 'would you rather have your street cleaned or let this guy walk free?' Hands down on the street. Because it's kids and three murders -- I'd rather let my street go, and let trees fall than let him walk the street."

Since the ruling came down, people have voiced opinions about a new trial. Some question the expense while others say the prosecution had its chance and blew it. But most we talked with say justice must be served, even if there's a price to pay.

Online Reporter: Craig Hoffman

Online Producer: Michael Dever