Camm trial 9/4: Lead investigators differ as to whether and when - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Camm trial 9/4: Lead investigators differ as to whether and when they suspected David Camm was the killer

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Charles Boney Charles Boney

LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - One Indiana State Police top investigator professes to have been so convinced that former trooper David Camm couldn't have killed his wife and children that he didn't read Camm his Miranda Rights before a formal interview only hours after the murders.

But another investigator said he thought Camm was faking his tears and despair, so he had no trouble lying and trying to mislead Camm in a phone call only hours before his arrest.

Wednesday, prosecutors played tapes of both conversations for the Boone County jury hearing Camm's second re- trial.

"They (children Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5) probably were screaming, trying to get away," Camm told Det. Robert "Mickey" Neal in that police interview, just after midnight on September 29, 2000.

"I think they were yelling for me," said Camm in the interview. "And I wasn't there."

"It was a fact- finding interview," Neal told jurors Wednesday afternoon.  "I was thinking of everybody but David as a suspect at that time because of our relationship."

Neal and Camm had worked the same shift in the ISP's Sellersburg post, though patrolling in different areas, Neal told prosecutors. 

"He (Camm) was reluctant to speak when I first asked him,(at the crime scene)," Neal told jurors.  "I told him we need to get going and get some information. His family encouraged him that it was the proper thing to do."

During the interview, Camm's tone ranged from matter-of-fact and even to long pauses, with sniffles and sobbing.

"How long were they (his children) bleeding before they died?" Camm asked with  his voice breaking. "How can God expect me to go through this?"

Neal told Camm to pray, but he also cautioned his former colleague about doing anything "not rational."

"I'm not saying you'll hear that they (friends or investigators) are holding you responsible for this, but it could come up," Neal told Camm. "You have lost the most important thing in your life, but promise me you won't do anything to yourself. I don't want anybody thinking you did this. Will you promise me you won't do nothing?"

Neal asked Camm to turn over the shoes, socks, gym shorts and T-shirt he was wearing the night of the murders.

"We want to be able to clear you," Neal told the former trooper.

Earlier, Camm had told Neal he'd thought his wife Kim had fallen and hit her head, upon finding her body in the garage after he returned to their Georgetown, Indiana home from playing basketball at their church nearby.

Camm told Neal he found his children in the back seat of Kim's Ford Bronco. Jill and Kim were cold to the touch, but Camm told investigators "Brad was warm." Camm said he tried to save his son.

Camm told investigators neither he nor Kim had had any trouble or incidents in their current jobs, but that "somebody may have been out to get me," from his tenure as an Indiana trooper.

Camm said he'd kept only long guns at home, after leaving the ISP in late April. He stored those rifles and shotguns in a locked cabinet. 

"I don't carry any (handguns)," he told Neal.

Barely four months earlier, Camm had indicated that he owned a .380 caliber pistol, according to Lt. Frank Loop, the Floyd County police officer who reviewed Camm's application to become a reserve officer with that department shortly after he left ISP.

"I told him we carry either 9mm or .40 caliber weapons, and he asked for more time so he could buy a new uniform and a new Beretta, "Loop told the jury.

James Biddle,a former Indiana State Police lieutenant told jurors Wednesday morning that a check of ISP records showed Camm had not listed any handguns as off-duty carry weapons, either during his time as a trooper or after he left the force.

Biddle testified that he and Neal managed different aspects of the Camm investigation. Biddle said had rolled tape [started an audio recording] when Camm called early October 1, 2000 to apologize for chest bumping him at the crime scene the day before. Camm had expressed frustration after being denied entry to his home to retrieve clothing and photographs for his family's funerals.

"I appreciate the patience you've shown," Biddle told Camm in dismissing the incident. "I will go as far as I can to get what you want."

"It hurts, it hurts when people say that I did this," Camm told Biddle.

By then, Biddle concedes, he not only was convinced of Camm's guilt, but he knew the arrest was coming.

"In your mind, you thought he (Camm) was faking," defense attorney Richard Kammen told Biddle Tuesday. "But the person who was faking was you."

Biddle told jurors that state police considered lying "within acceptable guidelines" provided that the trooper believed the person in question also was lying.

Biddle described himself as among the lead investigators, but declined being held accountable for failing to check for fingerprints inside Camm's home.

"The crime technicians have control of their crime scenes," Biddle told the jury.

During their testimonies last week, technicians Jim Niemeyer and Sam Sarkisian each suggested that the other, or a direct supervisor, was responsible.

Biddle said he was unsure why nobody checked with Indiana's Department of Corrections to determine whether the gray sweatshirt found under Bradley Camm's body might have belonged to an inmate, based upon the nickname "Backbone" found in the collar.

In 2005, investigators traced the sweatshirt to Charles Darnell Boney by submitting a DNA sample to the FBI's national database, or CODIS. Boney was convicted in 2006 and received a 225 year sentence for the Camms' murders.

"This (the Camm case) was one of the most extensive investigations that state police have ever done," Biddle told the jury."Some mistakes were made and I regret that, but I'm very proud of the men and women involved."

"Nobody asked (technician) Lynn Scamahorne to run the DNA sample that would have led to Charles Boney (before Camm's first trial)," defense counsel Kammen asked later.

"That was one of the mistakes," Biddle responded.

Earlier, a real estate agent told jurors that Camm had inquired about a larger, more expensive home in New Albany in the days before his family's murder. The home had four bedrooms, three-and-one-half baths, and a swimming pool. Under cross-examination, the realtor revealed that Camm had explained that he and his wife were looking for a home closer to their children's Christian school, and that his son Brad was a competitive swimmer.

Jurors submitted a number of written questions. 

Biddle told them that state police were exploring "multiple leads" at the time Camm called, including those Camm had suggested as suspects.

"We also were checking into reports of a dark vehicle seen in the area," Biddle testified. 

Last week, one of Camm's neighbors identified Boney's dark sedan as the car he saw driving away from the Camm's residence five to six hours before the murders.

Both Biddle and Neal indicated they were trying to win Camm's trust, so that he would agree to talk again as the investigation progressed.

Thursday, jurors will view the videotape of Camm's second interview with Neal, conducted three days after the murders. That interview ended with Camm's arrest.

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