By James Zambroski
January 20th, Day 10
Loose Leaf Notes From A Somewhat Fertile Mind -- Week Two
NEEDING A DIET: One thing I hate about going on the road for an assignment like this is that I have the tendency to gain weight. Before you think I'm chowin' down extra on the company expense account, forget about it -- there's a reason, I'm tellin' ya.
I don't eat any more than normal when I'm hotel living (although that's probably too much already), but with a story like this, the amount I exercise is zero.
After court's over for the day and I've finished work on the evening and late news, I often don't get back to the hotel (which is 15 miles from downtown Boonville) until around 8:30-9:00. (Last Wednesday, a stint on the Joe Elliott Show kept me working until 10).
I'm too crashed, really, to go out someplace for dinner (my wife I and experimented this week by sending me out with a cooler full of food; I didn't like it, though. No offense, honey). After that, I'm here, writing for you (and I gotta admit, for me, too. I'm grateful that WAVE's given me the freedom to go back to my print journalism roots and the longstanding romance I've had with the written word).
And therein lies another point: The workload is necessary.
I love taking ownership of a story. I've been following the David Ray Camm saga almost from the beginning and I like to think this is my story now; your story, from me, since you can't be in Warrick County and the powers that be don't allow cameras in the courtroom.
So 18-hour days are the norm, but honestly, I kinda dig it. Somewhere in my mind I rationalize that I'm on a similar plane with the lawyers, particularly the defense, who are dedicating their lives to getting Camm a ticket home. They're working like navvies, no doubt; ownership means I should be, too. So no complaints from me, although my wife suggested an earlier version of this sounded a little too whiny.
CAMM'S MOOD: As I've mentioned before, I have taken to watching the defendant from a distance almost from the minute he comes into the courtroom. For a guy facing life in prison, he seems pretty jaunty. Far from morose, he's animated, smiling and frequently turning back to his family, sitting in the front row, for a word or two. 'Course, there's a part of David Camm that's just plain shy, so I wouldn't call him an extrovert, but he must be fairly happy with how things are going so far.
THE COPS: Nine of the first 13 witnesses for the state so far have been either Indiana State Police officers or state employees (the dispatcher on duty the night of September 28, 2000, was the first witness). They hang as a group, many clutching thick binders with the reports and notes of their investigations, waiting to be called to the stand. Almost all are dressed in shirt, tie and sportcoat.
TRIAL RULES, PART 1: Generally speaking in a murder trial, the lawyers routinely make a motion for "separation of witnesses" right at the start of the trial. This is a move to keep witnesses on both sides from hearing testimony from others until they're called to the stand.
But Warrick Superior Court Judge Robert Aylsworth has denied that motion, so everyone is in the courtroom, whether they're to be called tomorrow, next week or next month. Really kind of unusual, but first, last and always, this is Aylsworth's court.
SEATS AVAILABLE: This trial was moved out of Floyd County because of pre-trial publicity. My understanding is there's a waiting line everyday for seats available in the Boney trial, but here in Boonville, there are plenty of spaces in the 61 seat courtroom, even after those taken by the press and the Camm and Renn families.
NICKNAMES: George Bush does it and we've already got a start here with Katherine "Kitty" Liell, lead defense lawyer. I'm thinking I should round out the group a bit, so here goes: Stacey "Einstein" Uliana, the defense team scientist.
Gary "Gumshoe" Dunn, their investigator; Keith "Carlo" Henderson, need I say more? Steve "John Boy" Owen, the assistant prosecutor; Wayne "Clothes Horse" Kessinger, Henderson's investigator, with an aside to retired LMPD homicide detective John Tartar, the former holder of Best Dressed Cop; and Gary "Cowboy" Gilbert, the boot wearing ISP detective with the butt kickin' footwear.
And me, James "Zam the Fat Man" Zambroski. Get me some carrot sticks, will ya? Not.
P.S. Since I'm out of the office for the next several weeks, I can't access my WAVE 3 email account. If you wanna reach me while I'm in Boonville, send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Later.