Camm Trial - October 15, 2013: Rebuttal: Camm prosecutors attack - News, Weather & Sports

Camm Trial - October 15, 2013: Rebuttal: Camm prosecutors attack validity of Touch DNA

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David Camm David Camm

LEBANON, IN  (WAVE) - Touch DNA  findings, critical to David Camm's defense, are among the worst and most unreliable examples of analyses she's seen in almost a quarter century,  a forensic DNA consultant told jurors in Camm's third murder trial Tuesday.

"I've never met David Camm in my life," Dr. Norah Rudin testified. And I hadn't heard of (Richard) Eichelenboom or his firm. But to see his findings was quite a shock."

Rudin's degree is in Molecular Biology and Genetics, but she specializes in verifying whether a DNA lab's procedures and precautions are scientifically solid enough to justify its findings. Prosecutors called her as a rebuttal witness to refute claims from Dutch DNA specialist Richard Eichelenboom, whose tests concluded that Charles Boney left DNA on Kim Camm's sweater-blouse and underwear, and Jill Camm's shirt.

The defense has argued Charles Boney alone is responsible for killing Camm's wife Kim, son Bradley, 7, and daughter Jill, 5, more than 13 years ago. Boney is serving a 225-year sentence for the murders, but he was arrested only after Camm's first conviction was overturned on appeal. DNA testing linked him to a sweatshirt left at the murder scene.

Boney has claimed he did nothing more than deliver the murder weapon and heard Camm fire the fatal shots.  But Eichelenboom testified last week that his findings suggest Kim Camm may have struggled or fought with Boney before she and her children were killed.

Earlier testing had concluded that the DNA samples in question didn't yield enough information to tie them to a specific person. Rudin told jurors Eichelenboom's sampling was so large it created noisy data that made his results unreliable.

"Most of his samples were-crime scene samples, which does not substitute for using known samples," Dr. Rudin said. "He doesn't take into account this missing information, he just pretends it doesn't exist."

Eichelenboom testified that an associate conducted the actual tests; the same associate found to have given wrong answers on profiency tests in 2011 and 2012. Eichelenboom blamed the testing kits themselves.

Rudin described the tests as a fairly easy way to determine basic competency. But Camm's team had fought allowing jurors to hear that.

Before Rudin took the stand, lead counsel Richard Kammen called her anticipated testimony hearsay, because it relied upon email correspondence between the testing company and another DNA consultant. He interrupted her when she broached the subject, and asked that the jury be excused.

"This may be the Holy Grail, but if she tells the jury it's junk, there's no way to say ‘you're wrong,'" Kammen told the Court out of the jury's hearing.

"It goes to his (Eichelenboom's) credibility," co-counsel Stacy UIiana said. "He would need to come back, face-to-face, to say he is not a liar."  Were that required, Floyd County would bear the additional costs of testimony, and of flights from Colorado or the Netherlands.

Rudin told jurors that Eichelenboom over-reached when he confirmed that DNA on Jill Camm's shirt could be Boney's.

"It is many times more likely that it's an unknown person," Rudin testified. She disputed Eichelenboom's claims that a person who uses force or who sweats profusely is more likely to leave a larger, more measurable DNA sample.

On cross-examination, Rudin conceded that she hadn't examined Boney's sweatshirt, nor Kim Camm's sweater-blouse or underwear. She also acknowledged she hasn't done DNA lab work in 17 years because she now analyzes data.

Rudin told jurors that Trace or Touch DNA findings can be good enough to hold up in court, provided that the tests that yielded the results are reliable. She also testified that she prefers to now as little as possible about a case before she investigates it, so that she may remain objective and focus on the science.

Prosecutors have argued that mishandling of evidence could explain how Boney's DNA may have been transferred to the victims' clothing. Court Reporter Diana Borden testified that she and her husband wore gloves when they laid out evidence for photographs and for jurors to view in Camm's first trial in 2002.

But Borden said she couldn't guarantee that the jurors wore gloves if they handled items. Camm's team argued that most of the DNA analyzed had been harvested prior to trial.

Prosecutors left jurors hanging as to who called a Camm cell phone. AT&T representative Ben Gerrion testified the call went straight  to voicemail about 7:50 p.m. Based on conclusions from the Medical Examiner and blood-stain pattern analysts, it would have been received immediately prior to the murders or as the murders were taking place.

The number is registered to David Camm, but testimony has been unclear as to whether the phone belonged to him, or to his wife.

Jurors may hear more regarding the origins of the call Wednesday.  

Prosecutors also expect to call blood-pattern analyst Tom Bevel, to rebut defense claims that droplets on Camm's T-shirt aren't proof of gunshot spatter that tie him to the crimes. 

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