Lawyers Argue Second Murder Conviction Should Be Set Aside
6:50 AM, May 19, 2008
Lawyers for David Camm will try to convince the Indiana Supreme Court this week that his second murder conviction in the killing of his family should be set aside. The court, which will hear oral arguments in Camm's appeal Thursday, could order a third trial for the former state trooper. Camm is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole following his second conviction in the September 2000 murders of his wife, 35-year-old Kimberly, and their children, 7-year-old Bradley and 5-year-old Jill, in the southern Indiana town of Georgetown. The first conviction was overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals in August 2004 based largely on the use of improper evidence of Camm's earlier infidelities. Attorney Stacy Uliana argues the odds were stacked against Camm at his second trial because the defense wasn't allowed to delve into co-defendant Charles Boney's criminal record despite undisputed evidence that he was at the murder scene, including a sweatshirt and palm print in the garage where the victims were found. Jurors in January 2006 convicted Boney on three counts of murder and he is serving a 225-year sentence. He also has appealed his conviction. A separate jury two months later convicted Camm of killing his family. But an appeal brief said a conspiracy charge attempting to link Camm with Boney was dismissed because there was no evidence. The defense argued Boney acted alone. "It was unfair," Uliana said of the trial. Uliana also said the appeal will challenge why Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson was allowed to argue to the jury, based on little or no evidence, that Camm murdered his family to cover up his daughter's alleged molestation. Thomas Schornhorst, an Indiana University emeritus law professor who has filed a friend of the court brief supporting Camm's appeal, said he doesn't think any evidence connected Camm to molestation and that evidence suggesting that the child's genital injuries resulted from molestation was weak. However, Steve Creason, the deputy attorney general who will argue for the state, said there was evidence to support the molestation argument and that Boney's record was properly withheld from the jury. Lawyers aren't allowed to say that "this is such a bad guy he must have done it," Creason said. While it would be rare for the court to order a third trial, Schornhorst said "there is a very strong case" for the conviction to be overturned. Creason said Camm's argument that Boney committed the murders isn't unusual because co-defendants often blame each other. Lawyers on both sides agree that a ruling might take a year. The court could uphold the conviction, order a new trial or order Camm's release.