Camm Trial - October 10, 2013: Criminologists: Tunnel vision, de - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Camm Trial - October 10, 2013: Criminologists: Tunnel vision, delay on Boney were ‘catastrophic’ for investigation

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David Camm David Camm

LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - David Camm's defense team is expected to rest Friday without calling him to the stand to deny he murdered his wife and their two young children in the garage of their Georgetown home 13 years ago.

"David talked to the authorities as long as they wanted, even when it was clear he was going to be arrested," lead counsel Richard Kammen told reporters following Thursday's proceedings. "David is not going to testify. And I don't think there's any need for him to."

Jurors spent Thursday hearing  two former homicide detectives-turned –instructors detail defense claims that tunnel vision and bias led investigators to arrest Camm too quickly and to discount or dismiss evidence that would have led them to another suspect; Charles Darnell Boney.

"A quick call is catastrophic," criminologist Damon Fay said. "Your own biases can kick out other possible solutions."

Texas State University Professor Kim Rossmo maintains the most critical flaw was investigators failure to check a national database to identify DNA left on a sweatshirt, until an appeals court overturned Camm's first conviction and prosecutors sought to try him again five years after the crimes.

"It would have pointed to another theory," Dr. Rossmo testified. "Very likely, it would have affected the evidence gathered."

The sweatshirt was underneath the body of Camm's Bradley, 7. Indiana's Department of Corrections had issued it when Boney was serving time for several  felonies, including assaults on women.

Boney was convicted of the Camm family murders in 2006. He's serving a 225-year sentence. He has told jurors his only connection to the case is delivering the gun Camm used to commit the murders. Boney testified he heard Camm fire the fatal shots. The gun has never been recovered.

Dr. Rossmo told jurors his review indicated state police investigators likely suffered from groupthink;  a former Trooper (Camm) was accused of murdering  his family and pressure was on to develop answers quickly.

"It leads to selective information gathering, not searching for evidence that would contradict your theory," he said. "Nobody wants to tell the Emperor he has no clothes."

In all three trials, prosecutors have maintained dots of blood on Camm's T-shirt are gunshot spatter;  possible only if he fired the shot that killed his daughter Jill, 5. 

But Dr. Rossmo argued investigators gave it undue weight, even though that determination came from photographer Rob Stites, an underling of the blood-pattern analyst whom the Floyd County Prosecutor  hired to view the crime scene.

"It's inconceivable to me that an untrained, inexperienced person to a triple-murder, " Dr. Rossmo said. Furthermore, a profitable business relationship likely made Stites' supervisor, Rod Englert, reluctant to challenge those findings.

 

"Do you really expect him to say ‘yeah, I sent this guy, but he's all wrong,'" Dr. Rossmo asked.

Fay told jurors his review of 35 hours interrogations showed investigators were allowing confirmation bias and a reluctance to admit errors influence them to treat Boney more like a witness than a suspect.

 

"There are repeated references to ‘we don't think you killed anybody," Fay said. "Boney was the gatekeeper, giving 5-6-800 word answers. He got more information from them than they got. Ridiculous is the kindest word I can say."

"How many times did they use the word ‘connection' in reference to Camm,"  Kammen asked. 

"I didn't try to count," Fay replied.

Dr. Rossmo argued Boney's criminal history, his conflicting stories and his proximity to a market where Camm's wife shopped all should have been warning signs.

"There were opportunities for him to encounter her (Camm's wife)," he explained.

Camm's alibi is that he was playing basketball at a nearby church when the murders occurred. Fellow players have testified they never saw him leave the gym early, nor notice he was missing.

Dr. Rossmo told jurors investigators erred by failing to interview players individually and record their answers before deciding whether to give more weight to their own belief that Camm had enough time to sneak out, murder his family and return without being detected.

Prosecutors countered that by showing the jury a video meant to illustrate that the players could be telling the truth, as they see it, without seeing the whole truth.

The video shows two groups, dressed in white and black respectively, each passing basketballs. The narrator asks viewers to count the number of passes by the white-clad players. It ends with the narrator asking whether the viewers had spotted a man wearing a gorilla suit, walk into the scene and mug for the camera.

Dr. Rossmo seemed unmoved, telling jurors overall statistics show about half those who viewed the video  spotted the gorilla, further supporting the defense theory Camm couldn't have counted on distraction to escape undetected.

Fay and Dr. Rossmo both told jurors their examinations of crime scene photos poked holes in the theory Camm staged the murders to appear to be  sexual attack on his wife.

"I would have expected something that more obvious," Dr. Rossmo said.  "More of her clothes pushed up. Something that would have screamed to police, sex crime."

"Her pants were removed without violence," Fay testified. "The shape of a woman's hips make it a little more difficult to remove them (after death)."

Prosecutors maintain the murders were a target crime. Fay called them a random crime with spillover damage, referring to the deaths of the children.

"Bradley was underkill," Fay said, "He actually had a survivable wound."  Camm has insisted his son was still alive when he came upon the crime scene and that he tried to revive him with CPR. The recovery attempt was also Camm's explanation for his daughter's blood on his T-shirt.

Fay, Dr. Rossmo and Levco agreed the killer shot the Camm children to eliminate witnesses.

"They could have said, ‘my daddy shot my mother,'" Levco told jurors.

"But they also could have given enough description to have identified Boney," Fay answered.

Prosecutors will resume questioning Fay on Friday. One answer left Levco so surprised he asked Fay to clarify it only to hear Fay repeat it twice.

The question: Do you believe investigators deliberately tried to get Boney to false statements about David Camm?

"Yes," Fay told him.

"I'm gonna ask him again to make sure it wasn't some miscommunication," Levco said, "But I thought I made it clear.  I tried to."

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