Kim, Bradley and Jill Camm (Source: WAVE 3 Archives)
The "Backbone" sweatshirt that was linked by DNA to Charles Boney.
LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - David Camm's eyes reddened as he watched two of his cousins choke up and weep openly Friday as they related how they learned that his wife and two young children had been shot to death at his home on September 28, 2000.
But what may have been more helpful to his defense is the witness jurors won't get to hear; Michael McDaniel, his lawyer for his first murder trial in 2002.
"What the first prosecutors did or did not do in the first trial has no bearing on this trial," Special Judge Jon Dartt told Camm's legal team. "It's prejudicial. I'm not allowing it."
McDaniel alleges that Stan Faith, the Floyd County Prosecutor at the time, lied to him when he asked whether testing of a sweatshirt found underneath the body of Camm's son turned up DNA from anyone other than Camm or the victims. McDaniel had told him the sweatshirt resembled those issued to inmates of the Indiana Department of Corrections.
"I met with (Faith) and told him about the word ‘Backbone' written into the back collar," McDaniel continued. "I asked him to see whether DOC keep data on nicknames, but ultimately, the response was, no they don't."
McDaniel then had a private lab retest the sweatshirt, returning results from an "unidentified male."
"I asked (Faith) if he would run the DNA through CODIS, and he agreed to do that - no question," McDaniel told Dartt in a proof hearing out of the jury's presence.
CODIS, or Combined DNA Indexing System, is the FBI's national database that stores profiles of convicted felons. McDaniel told Dartt that about a week later Faith told him the database had turned up no matches.
Camm would have to wait almost 3 1/2 years – after an appellate court had overturned his first conviction and another prosecutor refilled charges – before learning that the DNA linked the sweatshirt to serial felon Charles Darnell Boney, a man whose DNA had been in the CODIS database since 1997.
"Knowing about Boney would have allowed us to shift our defense from ‘some other person did it' to ‘this person did it,'" McDaniel said.
"I didn't lie, and he knows I didn't lie to him," Faith told WAVE 3 News in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. "The idea that I would go into court not knowing whose (DNA) it might be when they (Camm's team) might know? I don't like to be ambushed."
Faith said McDaniel delivered the DNA findings to prosecutors less than three weeks before Camm's first trial Faith further added that state police investigators may have misunderstood which item clothing item he wanted checked through the DNA database.
Boney and Camm were tried separately for the murders of Camm's wife Kim, 35, son Bradley, 7, and daughter Jill, 5. Both were found guilty in 2006. Camm's second conviction was overturned on appeal. Boney is serving a 225 year sentence.
"You can't just say ‘now is now and forget the past thirteen years,'" lead defense counsel Richard Kammen told Dartt. "The fact that these guys (current prosecutors) are third in line doesn't change the equation."
"You're not gonna argue me out of my ruling," said Dartt.
Though jurors won't hear them, McDaniel's allegations have become part of the record, citable as grounds for appeal should Camm be convicted a third time.
Faith told WAVE 3 News prosecutors first believed the sweatshirt belonged to Camm. He said the state police crime lab was unable to match fibers found on it to carpeting in Camm's house. Former lab technician Dan Letich told jurors Friday afternoon that he found "similarities" between the shirt fibers, and carpet cuttings he collected after prosecutors requested a retesting prior to Camm's second trial.
"But they didn't have you go to Charles Boney's house or (Boney's girlfriend) Mala Mattingly's house did they?" defense counsel Stacy Uliana said. "So your testimony in the second trial was not completely accurate."
"That's right," Letich said.
Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth was a state police crime scene investigator thirteen years ago. He was tasked with checking Camm's pickup truck for trace evidence. Oeth told jurors he found no signs of blood inside it, and that tests came back negative when he checked several spots on its exterior.
Philip Lockhart told jurors that found Camm leaning against the truck's tailgate, after his uncle, Nelson Lockhart, summoned family to the crime scene.
"(He) Camm fell to the ground and let out a loud scream," Lockhart said, choking back tears. "He was laying down in a fetal position."
Lockhart is Camm's first cousin, the son of Camm's uncle Sam Lockhart. Erik Minzenberger is a distant cousin, married to Philip's sister. Both men testified that they were among those with Camm at Georgetown Community Church the night of the murders.
Lockhart conceded that Camm might have been out of his sight for fifteen minutes of the 2 1/2 hours of basketball games in the church gym. Prosecutors have alleged that Camm had enough time to leave the gym, kill his family, and then return to establish his alibi.
Minzenberger admitted that he had researched blood-pattern evidence, even though he believed Camm couldn't have left the church gym without attracting attention.
"The supposed timeline then (for the killings) was after he played basketball," Minzenberger told prosecutors.
But now Lockhart and Minzenberger told jurors their support for Camm is unwavering.
"My wife and I, we've been called liars," Minzenberger said. "I wish there was a camera in the gym that could show he's here, and validate what we're saying."
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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