January 27th, 2006 - Day 15: Random Thoughts From a Somewhat Fertile Mind--Week 3

January 27, 2006 - Day 15
Random Thoughts From a Somewhat Fertile Mind -- Week 3

There are two theories of this crime that I think fall under the lets-throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks category.

Lucky for me, each side -- prosecution and defense -- has one, so there can be no claims about favoritism or bias. They're both wacky and I'm wondering if the jury is going to look at either of these hypotheses as evidence. Hard to believe David Ray Camm will be convicted or exonerated on the basis of either of these ideas being tossed out by the lawyers.

Theory #1--Camm's Behavior Shows He's a Killer:
The prosecution has asked several of it's witnesses about David Camm's "demeanor" and mood the night of and days following the murders. For example, ISP Trooper Shelly Romero, an officer with whom Camm at one time had a close, personal ... working relationship, told the jury that she and Camm talked several times from the night of the murders until his arrest three days later; she called Camm; Camm called her; it was back and forth. Romero testified that at one point, two days after the killings, Camm wondered if the murders of his wife and children would somehow make him less desirable as a mate or romantic interest in the future ("who would want me") and he asked Romero if he was "date-able."

Another witness, Detective Sean Clemons, the former lead investigator on the case (he was replaced on Sept 3, 2004) and self-described lifelong friend of Camm's, said he felt threatened by the former Indiana State Trooper.

Clemons testified that on the night of the murders, when he showed up at the Georgetown, Ind. crime scene, Camm at one point, grabbed him by the front of his shirt (you know, the way guys do, with both hands at once, on each side of the buttons) and screamed "Do it right, do it f ***** right." Clemons thought this was unusual. Hmmm.

And then a day later, Clemons testified that Camm said he would kill Clemons and Detective Darrell Gibson if a blood expert (Robert Stites) produced evidence that put Camm in jail. Clemons moved his family out of town that night; Gibson later testified he didn't quite feel so threatened and in fact, Camm might have had a smirk on his face when he allegedly made the remark.

Cpl. Robert "Mickey" Neal interviewed Camm about three hours after the September 28, 2000, slayings, principally, he said, to get basic information about Kim Camm's schedule, family circumstances, etc. Neal, who called Camm a good friend, said he viewed his former colleague as witness at the time of that interview, but that some of his statements and behaviors struck Neal as "odd."

Camm's lack of emotion in that interview is what troubled Neal, apparently. He testified that Camm was neither "sad or angry" and that he was "flat."

And there are a couple of others in the same vein.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've been misunderstood more than a time or two in my life. I'm not complaining and I'm not paranoid, but I know I've said one thing but had someone else believe I meant something entirely different.

Hasn't that happened to a lot of people? You know in your heart and mind what you mean, but someone else interprets it a completely different way. Am I alone on this? I doubt it.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson says he doesn't expect the jury to latch onto one particular example of Camm's behavior, but hopes that all of them, grouped together, will be part of why they convict him.

Good luck. Somehow I think a jury is going to want more than an odd ball comment or two before locking up a guy and throwing away the key.

Theory #2--Charles Boney ran into Kim Camm At The Store:
The defense strategy on the cross examination of every police officer has been to find something wrong with what they did. The questioning goes like this: "Officer, did you do x,y or z", knowing full well the officer has NOT done those things. "No, ma'am, I didn't." "Oh, so you didn't think it was important to do x,y or z" and so forth.

It's what defense lawyers do: they find fault, any fault whatsoever, with the work of the police that's gotten their client jammed up. One of the ways they find fault is to latch onto something the police didn't do in an investigation. It could be that the cops are screw-ups or it could just as easily be that trained professionals didn't think that thing was so important. It doesn't matter; the suggestion to the jury is that by not doing it, the officer was wrong, the investigation incomplete and my client is the victim of that.

So on Friday, with ISP Detective Gary Gilbert on the stand, defense lawyer Katherine "Kitty" Liell asked him if he'd reviewed Kim Camm's checking account for the three days prior to her death.

Gilbert had reviewed the family credit, he'd looked over mortgage and insurance, was aware of pension benefits and so forth but he had not balanced Kim's last bank statement.

Liell pointed to checks that showed Kimberly shopped at Karem's Meats, a great butcher shop off State Street in New Albany, owned by Kim's sister, Debbie and her husband, David Karem.

She also wondered if Gilbert knew that Charles Boney might have shopped there. Gilbert said he may have been aware that Boney's mother did some shopping at Karem's, but he didn't know about her boy, Charlie.

Well, the defense didn't really either. Mrs. Boney said in a defense deposition that she shopped there and she may have mentioned something about Charlie being with her once or something about she knew Charles had stopped in, maybe, before. Charlie boy was living with his mom then, a few miles away.

Kim was a regular at Karem's, so was David Camm. So maybe that's where Charles Boney actually saw Kim Camm and began to target her as his next victim, so the defense hypothesis goes.

This theory has a real Twilight Zone feel to it, but like so many of Rod Serling's tales, there could be an ounce of truth or reality to it, just the right dose for a shot of reasonable doubt.

Course, at this point, we haven't seen or heard or are aware of any evidence that actually places Boney in the store at the same time as Kimberly, but then again, the defense hasn't put on it's case yet. The prosecution doesn't seem to worried about the Crossing Paths at the Store Theory, either.

Exercise Solved It:
Last week I told you that work demands on this thing have really kept me from getting any exercise and I tacked on a couple of pounds.

Fixed it, though.

I've pledged to walk up the 30 or so stairs to the second floor to the courtroom EVERY SINGLE DAY.

'Course, then there's that problem with Barbara Mills. She's the mom of Dave Mills, a photographer (and great guy) from WLKY who took this assignment because his family lives in Evansville. Barbara sends down homemade pastries about three times a week to our 'media' room at the courthouse. I can't just walk away from that; who wants to be rude? See, it's not my fault.

Miller Time, Just Outside:
These lawyers crack me up. It's Friday, the judge lets them out an hour early to get a start on the trip home for the weekend (we gotta stay a few more hours for the later news) and what do you think happens next? Out in the parking lot, across the street from the courthouse, they pop open a cold one out of a cooler in the car.

The other side (sorry to be so coy, but I do need these folks to keep talking to me), drops by the pizza shop that opens just after 5 p.m. in search of a brewski, but sorry -- soda and soft drinks only.

Next week:
The state brings on the blood spatter experts who will say David Camm had to be present when his family was shot to death. Now, it's going to get interesting.