Camm Trial 9/11: Pattern Analyst: Spatter size, blood flow show only Camm could have been family’s killer
LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - The case against former Indiana state trooper David Camm has turned to show to go with the tell the past two days in his third trial for the murders of his wife and their two young children almost thirteen years ago.
Blood-pattern analyst Rod Englert walked jurors through a tour of Camm's wife's Ford Bronco Wednesday afternoon after testifying that the size of the stains, and the direction of blood flow, prove that Kimberly Camm and her 5-year-old daughter Jill both were shot at close range.
And that Camm himself had to be the killer.
"I looked at all the evidence that was possible to look at," Englert told jurors.
Englert did not see the bodies before investigators removed them, but a little more than three months later, he determined that he was looking at "a posed and staged scene" when he viewed photographs showing Kim Camm, and the couple's 7-year-old son Bradley, lying on the garage floor.
"The position of her hair is abnormal," Englert testified. "She had to have been laying on her side, but she was moved onto her back."
The clue was an abnormal mark on Kim Camm's left finger. "It wouldn't be there, had she fallen backward after being shot," he explained.
The photos show Kim Camm's pants had been removed. Her left hand, and Bradley's left shoe, are resting on them. The pants covered blood patterns that otherwise wouldn't have been there, Englert said.
"They're elongated streaks, coming from an energized source," Englert told jurors.
Another photograph also reveals much smaller stains near the energized stain. "The tinier the stains, the less distance the blood traveled," Englert said.
"The blood coming from Kim Camm's head, is flowing toward the back of the garage (the closed, overhead entry door)," Englert said. "The blood is flowing toward where the shooter stood."
Investigators recovered a bullet lodged between the Bronco's dashboard and windshield. Reverse engineering allowed him to determine the how the bullet traveled, Englert said.
Factoring that and the angles of the entry and exit wounds, Kim Camm was standing outside the Bronco near the open right passenger door, leaning forward when shot, Englert concluded.
"She was shot, then moved and then her pants were removed," he said.
The proof, prosecutors maintain, is in her blood patterns found on David Camm's gym shoes.
Englert told jurors that blood on the outside of Camm's left shoe is a projected stain, a continuation of one of the energized stains that ricocheted off of the garage floor.
"This stain shows evidence of having been wiped away," Englert told the jury. A stain on the inside of the left shoe is a transfer stain that also may have been wiped.
The stains' size, color and speed of drying led Englert to conclude that David Camm could have been no more than four feet from his wife when she was shot.
High-Velocity or blowback spatter also explains how dots of his daughter Jill's blood got onto Camm's T-shirt, Englert explained, "These stains are embedded into the weave. If I were to wipe a bloody hand across the shirt, it (the blood stain) would stay on the surface."
Jill Camm was found on the right side of the Bronco's rear bench seat, her seatbelt still buckled. Englert said her blood found on the Bronco's headliner and rollbar also shows a spatter pattern.
A short time later, jurors would find themselves sitting on bleachers in the garage of the Lebanon Police station. Standing in front of the Bronco, Englert told them that blood and ballistics prove Camm shot his wife first, then pushed the Bronco's right passenger seat forward to shoot their daughter, and finally, either leaned into or climbed into the Bronco to kill his son.
"The gun was pointing downward when Jill was shot," Englert said. Bullet trajectory shows Bradley was facing his killer, but had tried to climb into the Bronco's rear cargo area.
But Camm's team maintains that Englert's findings suffer major flaws.
"You're aware of that palm print belonging to Charles Boney," lead counsel Richard Kammen asked.
Englert confirmed that he evaluated the evidence four years before DNA analysis linked that print and a gray sweatshirt found at the scene to the serial felon later charged and convicted of the Camm's murders. Monday, Boney that he merely sold Camm two untraceable handguns, but was standing only feet away when he heard Camm fire the shots that killed his family.
"But isn't it possible that BOOM, Charles Boney kills Kim," Kammen asked. "Then, palm on Bronco, leans in, BOOM, BOOM, it's possible?
"It is possible," Englert answered. "I've explored every possibility. But this (Camm as the shooter) is the most possible."
Kammen argued that Englert's ricochet theory can't explain how Camm got his wife's blood on both sides of his left shoe, but not on the front. He forced Englert to admit that he was wrong to conclude that Boney's sweatshirt had no blood on it. Later testing found blood from several sources, but no DNA from David Camm.
"But (the sweatshirt) and the print don't change the reconstruction," Englert told jurors.
Englert denied that he was duty-bound or financially-encouraged to back up the findings of Rob Stites, the private contractor he sent to photograph and gather evidence after then-Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith hired his firm to investigate, hours after the murders. Englert acknowledged prosecutors have paid his Portland, OR firm more than $300,000 for investigative work and testimony in Camm's three trials.
"I told him (Stites) to keep his mouth shut and just 'document, document, document,'" Englert said. "I think he went overboard in giving his opinion."
Stites was the first crime scene technician to conclude that the blood dots on Camm's T-shirt were "blowback" spatter. Those findings led to Camm's arrest October 1, 2000, three days after his family's murders.
Englert reaffirmed Stites' findings shortly before Camm's first trial.
"You'd be able to say your colleague was wrong, even though David Camm might have had to be released," Kammen asked.
"It's happened before," Englert replied.
"Could have created difficulties with Stan Faith," Kammen countered.
"I would have done it," Englert said.
Jurors posed more than a dozen questions. Among them was whether snapping Jill Camm's buckled seatbelt could have left the blot dots on her father's shirt. David Camm has maintained he brushed up against his daughter trying to remove his son from the Bronco to try to revive him.
"Not those (size) dots," Englert replied. You have to have high energy to deliver them."
Under defense questioning, Englert agreed that blood-pattern analysis is a subjective science, and that no governing agency has established a set of standards to evaluate it, nor criteria to certify anyone claiming expertise in the field.
"Scientific principles allow the evidence to fall into place," Englert told the jury.
"You say you've explored every possibility," Kammen said. "Except the possibility that you're wrong."
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