February 8, 2006 - Day 23: Camm And Boney In The Same Room?

By James Zambroski

February 8th, 2006 - Day 23
Camm And Boney In The Same Room?

READERS, VIEWERS AND FRIENDS ALL: I have promised you a column about the state's attack on David Camm's alibi and we heard testimony on Wednesday from three former cellmates of the former Indiana State Trooper, but tonight there is more important breaking news out of this trial: For the first time, a witness is linking Camm to convicted killer Charles Boney.

It was testimony that ripped through the Warrick County courtroom like lightning in a spring storm, words so startling that they seemed to catch both defense and prosecution lawyers unaware.

Mahla Singh Mattingly, the former girlfriend and wife of convicted Camm family murderer Charles Boney testified that she saw Camm at the New Albany police station, where she had gone with Boney.

The testimony came during cross examination of Mattingly late Wednesday afternoon at Camm's re-trial for shooting his wife Kimberly and their two children, Brad and Jill, on September 28, 2000.

Boney, a co-defendant in the case, was convicted last month of three counts of murder and one count of conspiracy. He faces life in prison. Boney has said he provided Camm with the gun used in the slayings and was present in the Georgetown garage when the family was shot to death. He says Camm pulled the trigger.

But until Mattingly's testimony on Wednesday, investigators had to rely on circumstantial evidence and Boney's own words only to make the conspiracy case against Camm. That changed, they say, when Mattingly said she'd seen Camm in New Albany.

"She had looked long and hard and she remembered him before, remembered this incident at the police station," said Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson after the trial adjourned for the day.

The testimony came when defense lawyer Katherine 'Kitty' Liell asked Mattingly to look at Camm. The witness slowly turned her head, staring hard at the defendant as Liell asked if she'd ever seen Camm in person, outside of legal proceedings.

Mattingly began by speaking about a picture and then saying she wanted to make a statement. Liell stopped her short, saying the question required only a yes or no answer. When Mattingly began to speak again without giving a direct answer, Liell asked Warrick Superior Court Judge Robert Aylsworth to instruct Mattingly to answer simply yes or no.

Aylsworth asked Mattingly if in fact she could answer with one word or the other. Mattingly replied that yes, she could. Under further prompting from Liell, Mattingly said she now remembered seeing Camm's face at the New Albany police station, where she had gone with Boney.

Liell asked her what Boney was doing at the police station; Mattingly indicated she did not know. Liell asked her if Camm was wearing his Indiana State Police uniform at the time.

Mattingly said she could not recall anything about his clothes but was certain she remembered his face. The distinction is important, Liell said later.

"Charles Boney was in prison the entire time Dave Camm was a police officer," Liell said in a brief interview following the day's proceedings.

"She did not say that they met at the police station. She said she saw Dave Camm at the police station," Liell said.

It is ironic that the statements came during Liell's cross examination. Mattingly is a prosecution witness called to the stand by Henderson, but Henderson never asked Mattingly if she'd seen Camm, other than on television or in court.

"The first time I've heard that under testimony was tonight," Henderson said.

"It puts the conspiracy before the jury; you know, we have a fourth count of conspiracy. We needed her for that," he said.

Like Boney, Camm faces three counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Police say Camm conspired with Boney to kill the family.

The initial confusion and objections over Mattingly's answer did not confuse the jury, Henderson said.

"Well, they heard it, they heard it, so I would imagine that they got it," he said.

Liell says it's simply a matter of Mattingly trying to change her testimony at the last minute. As she did during the cross-examination, Liell went back to her deposition of Mattingly late last year.

"She admitted in her deposition that she had never seen Dave Camm before," Liell said.

P.S. Since I'm out of the office, I can't access my WAVE 3 email account. If you wanna reach me while I'm in Boonville, send email to: zamman1953@yahoo.com.