By James Zambroski
January 25th, Day 13
Prosecution Wins, Defense Smiles
The trial had adjourned for the day, the courthouse was dark and everyone had left, save a reporter or two waiting for the late evening news.
Then the phones started ringing as word came that a verdict had been reached in the Charles Boney murder case and for just one minute, David Ray Camm got shoved off center stage.
The Boney jury had been the elephant in the living room all day in Boonville at Camm's second trial for murdering his family. Everyone from police officers to the lawyers to ordinary spectators kept asking me, in hushed tones, owing to the presence, at one time or another, of the Camm jury, about why their counterparts were still out.
Whispered inquiries because no one wanted a mistrial from an errant word spoken too loudly.
"What are ya' hearin' outta Floyd County?"
"Anything new on Boney?"
"Why do you think it's taking so long"?
But when crawls began crisscrossing TV screens announcing that the verdict was due in minutes, Katherine "Kitty" Liell, her team and Camm family stalwart Sam Lockhart, Camm's ever faithful uncle (and 1/11th of his alleged alibi) streamed back to the floodlit courthouse square in downtown Boonville to wait for the jury to file into a courtroom nearly 100 miles away.
By the prearranged timetable, 7:05 was to the hour Justice took off her blindfold. The other Louisville stations broke into regularly scheduled programming; we at WAVE 3, of course, went on with our regularly scheduled news show.
We waited, waited, waited, waited, doing what you sometimes have to do on live television -- we filled. 'Course, we were more than ready, with anchors Scott Reynolds and Connie Leonard back at the studio executing the plan we'd had in place for weeks.
Bart Adams, a premier Louisville defense attorney, on board as our legal analyst for both cases, opined about what was about to happen. For the record, he called it right on all counts well before the jury spoke.
Reynolds and Leonard came live to Janelle McDonald in New Albany and me, here in Boonville, to get an up to the second take on what was happening, how this might affect the Camm case and what it might all mean in Floyd County.
And then the announcement, phoned directly to Scott and Connie by Janelle in the hallway outside Judge Terrence Cody's courtroom, the verdicts--guilty on all counts.
Liell's team spread across the square. I had Stacy Uliana, the thin, bespectacled lawyer/science officer defending Camm. Another station got Liell's take live. Another station, well, they had technical problems, and kept it at their studio in Louisville.
The relief, the righteousness, the joy was palatable as the defense crowed a courtroom victory that really wasn't theirs but was borne of their wholly independent investigation into the murders of Kim, Jill and Bradley Camm. Truth is, it was the steady drumbeat of Camm's family and their legal minions that led police to Charles Darnell Boney.
Sam Lockhart, whom I'd guess has spent close to $1 million on efforts to exonerate his nephew, gave his first live reaction to the verdict to me around 7:45.
I've interviewed Sam dozens of times over the years since his niece and her children were slaughtered. Before he spoke a word, I could see joy, relief and just a touch of peace in his face and eyes.
Sam looked younger than I've ever seen him as we waited to go live for our viewers in Kentuckiana, the lines and creases of his face noticeably relaxed, softened by the balm of the word guilty intoned four times on the eastern side of the Hoosier State.
Uliana brushed off the prosecution assertion that Boney's conviction on the conspiracy count bodes poorly for her client, noting that there is no known evidence, save Boney's words, which are unlikely ever to reach the ears of the 12 judging Camm in Warrick County, that the two had ever met.
Sentencing of Boney is all but a formality; it's likely to be life in prison without parole.