Camm murder trial 8/20 : Jury selected; second retrial to begin Thursday

David Camm
David Camm
David Camm's wife Kim, 35, their son Brad, 7, and daughter Jill, 5, were killed at their Georgetown home.
David Camm's wife Kim, 35, their son Brad, 7, and daughter Jill, 5, were killed at their Georgetown home.

LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - Opening arguments are set to begin Thursday morning in the second retrial of a former Indiana State Trooper. David Camm is charged with the murders of his wife Kim, 35,  their son Brad, 7, and daughter Jill, 5, at their Georgetown home almost thirteen years ago.

After a week of questioning, prosecutors and Camm's attorneys have agreed to a jury of eight women and four men, along with seven alternates, four women and three men.  The final three alternates were selected Tuesday afternoon.

All prospective jurors either knew, or the attorneys made them aware, that Camm had been convicted of the murders twice, and had both convictions overturned for evidence and prosecutorial conflicts that Indiana appellate courts deemed prejudicial.

That's why Camm's third trial has been moved to their home county, Boone County, northwest of Indianapolis. That's why a Special Judge, Jon Dartt of Spencer County, will hear the case, and why a Special Prosecutor, Stanley Levco of Evansville, will try it.

The trial is expected to take six to ten weeks. Jurors won't be sequestered until the case moves into deliberations.

Appellate rulings mean prosecutors can't use some of the evidence presented in Camm's previous trials.  Judge Dartt has ruled Camm's attorneys may introduce so-called 'Touch DNA' technology, unavailable in previous trials. Lead defense attorney Richard Kammen maintains that such technology will yield proof that Camm couldn't have committed the crimes. Prosecutors have labeled such 'touch evidence' unreliable.

"We don't have to show motive," prosecutor Levco told prospective jurors Tuesday. "But if you don't have that, could you still find him guilty, if we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt?"

Both sides concede that Camm's fate likely will hinge on how jurors define 'reasonable doubt' and which 'experts' they believe when evaluating physical evidence.

They kept prospective juror #234, who asserted that his scientific background leaves him inclined to view  "blood evidence" skeptically.

"I'm focused on 'real science' and not 'junk science'", he told the court.  Asked to explain why he noted a 'distaste' for lawyers in his juror's questionnaire, he cited television advertisements and a push for money that 'turns him off.'

"Certainly, it's reasonable for juries to expect science to deliver a lot more than they would get 25 years old, or even ten years ago," Levco said. "I would have to know what each juror expects in their minds to know whether their expectations are reasonable."

Attorneys rejected prospective juror #259, after she told the court she couldn't determine a difference between 'reasonable doubt' and 'no doubt whatsoever.'

"I don't have any unreasonable doubts," she said, hedging when Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer asked how she would weigh certain probabilities.

"Would you consider it 'reasonable' that terrorists might attack this courthouse," Meyer asked.

"Improbable, but not impossible," Juror #259 answered.

"Nobody's going to ask you to focus on the equivalent of little green men," defense attorney Kammen told the panel.

The court also excused prospective alternate #273, a self-described 'nanny between jobs' with three grown children and five grandchildren.  A daughter is a police officer in Iowa. She also has served as a jury foreman in a criminal case.

"The prior (sic) doesn't matter to me," she told the court during group questioning. What matters is the here and now."

She was excluded after co-defense counsel Stacy Uliana asked whether she ever had become frustrated while trying to explain to the 'powers that be' her reasoning behind a controversial decision.

"They (my bosses) didn't want to take responsibility for what happened," prospective #273 tells the court. "They didn't want to take responsibility for what happened.

Camm has maintained his innocence since being charged in September 2000, three days after the murders. His previous legal defenders, and Kammen, maintain that Floyd County investigators were unable to admit a mistake, even after physical evidence linked a career criminal, Charles Boney, to the murders. Boney has been convicted, is serving a 225 year sentence, and is expected to testify at Camm's third trial.

Prospective alternate #269's nagging doubts offer the cause to dismiss him from jury service. He volunteered  financial hardship and time constraints would make it difficult to attend to customers. Jurors will be paid $40 per day plus driving expenses.

"I don't know why he (Camm) would be convicted, and something overturned it," he told the court.

"I can't imagine it being something large. I think the convictions probably should have stood."

Throughout Tuesday's questioning, Camm appeared to glance at jury pool members only when his own attorneys were questioning them.  Clad in a dark brown blazer, button-down shirt and khakis, his crew-cut and impassive demeanor made it easy to mistake the former Indiana trooper for a plain-clothes detective.

"He (Camm) isn't directly involved in which jurors get picked and who to strike," Kammen  said.

"But it's the rest of his life we're talking about. He definitely has an interest."

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