Camm Trial 9/27: Prosecutors dispute findings, methods of Camm t - News, Weather & Sports

Camm Trial 9/27: Prosecutors dispute findings, methods of Camm team's blood analyst

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Barie Goetz leaving court on September 27. Barie Goetz leaving court on September 27.
David Camm David Camm
Kim, Bradley and Jill Camm (Source: WAVE 3 Archives) Kim, Bradley and Jill Camm (Source: WAVE 3 Archives)
The left shoe Camm was wearing the night of the murders. The left shoe Camm was wearing the night of the murders.
The t-shirt Camm was wearing on the night of the murders. The t-shirt Camm was wearing on the night of the murders.

LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - Thirty-five years experience, his own experiments, even a re-enactment of the crime scene as the defendant claims he found it, all tell forensic analyst Barie Goetz that David Camm got the blood of his wife and daughter on his shirt, a shoe and a sock, while trying to tried to revive his wounded son.

The defense hired Goetz to review the physical evidence, and the findings of state experts, for Camm's third murder trial. But the state calls those blood stains proof that Camm shot his wife and children at close range. Friday, one day shy of 13 years since the murders, prosecutors suggested the tests not only were shoddy; Goetz may have rigged them to support conclusions he'd already reached.

"You've given us only fifty percent of the possibilities of how (Camm) got blood on his shirt," said special prosecutor Stan Levco.

Levco was referring to the video re-creation done by Goetz using live actors. The defense has claimed Camm's t-shirt brushed up against blood on the hair of his 5-year-old daughter Jill, while he was removing his 7-year-old son Bradley from the back seat of his wife's Ford Bronco.

The video shows the girl portraying Jill lying almost prone, her seatbelt still strapped, the way Jill's body appears in crime scene photos. But ballistics testimony indicates Jill was upright when shot.

"Isn't it true that the further down (Jill's) body is the more valid your results are?" Levco asked.

"The position would affect the validity of transfer," Goetz replied. "But we couldn't get the little girl (re-enactor) to suspend herself as a dead person was."

Thursday's video re-enactment also left out a backpack, shown next to Jill Camm's head in crime scene photos. Prosecutors maintain that it too, could have affected Goetz's findings.

"Twice you told me you left it out on purpose, but on break you said you didn't," Levco said.

"We don't know where it was during the (crime, and Camm's removal of Brad)," Goetz responded when jurors questioned him later.

Goetz did not see Camm's t-shirt before all of the blood stains in question were consumed in DNA testing. Rather, Goetz told jurors he relied upon crime scene photographs and then tested Camm's claims.

First, Goetz said he laundered new all-cotton t-shirts several times to simulate the wear and absorbency of Camm's poly-cotton shirt. Then he dabbed four droplets of human blood onto the synthetic hair of a doll. Finally, Goetz said he donned the shirts and leaned over the doll from a height and distance to correspond to Camm's account.

Thursday, jurors heard the results produced stains similar to those on Camm's T-shirt. However, Goetz conceded Friday that he didn't photograph those experiments, nor had he brought the doll with him.

"I documented what I thought I needed to document," Goetz said. "I guess I should have thought of the jury."

Thursday, jurors heard that two stains offered proof that Camm couldn't have been the killer because Camm would have to have been standing above his daughter's head for gunshot spatter to strike his t-shirt.  Goetz testified that would be impossible given the tight quarters inside the Ford Bronco.

Friday, however, prosecutors asked whether those stains looked similar to others identified as gunshot back-spatter.

"If you look at them only in isolation, could it be spatter? Yes," Goetz answered.

"If it's spatter, doesn't that prove David Camm is guilty?" Levco asked.

"If it puts him there, so close that Jill gets her blood on him, then yes."

But the defense team calls such comparisons and conclusions "apples to watermelons."

"You don't focus on a single stain when you're looking at a pattern," lead counsel Richard Kammen told jurors.

Goetz insists that the same holds true for blood on Camm's gym shoe and sock. Prosecutors maintain that those stains are ‘projected spatter,' created when Camm shot his wife Kimberly. 

Goetz testified Thursday that his own testing indicated Camm could have gotten his wife's blood on his shoelaces as he knelt to perform CPR on his son. The blood then would have transferred to Camm's shoe and sock when he ran to summon family members nearby for help.

"Those laces were bouncing around for hours," Goetz said. "In the garage, in grass, all the way to turning the shoes in when they brought him in for questioning."

Testing left stains when Goetz ran in shoes with bloodied laces, he told the jury. But Goetz was unable to re-create an elongated oval-shaped stain that prosecutors claim is gunshot spatter.

Levco asked if Camm's shoe could have acquired that stain before the laces created the other stains. Goetz reiterated that he believes all stains are part of the same pattern.

Goetz also remained firm that brushing up against Jill's hair left blood on the fingers of Camm's right hand, which he wiped on the back of the shirt after lifting Bradley out of the Bronco. Camm's fingers still would have Jill's blood on them when he opened the door to the breezeway and called the Indiana State Police Sellersburg post from his kitchen phone, explaining stains found there.

Jurors wanted more explanations. Five of their sixteen questions concerned whether using all-cotton shirts might skew the results, given that Camm's shirt was a poly-cotton blend, likely to be less absorbent.

Goetz answered that laundering new cotton three times is more likely to create a surface similar to Camm's shirt, which had been washed numerous times.

"Anything with cotton absorbs more, the more you wash it, he said. "And I always use 100 percent cotton, in testing."

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