News and Tribune

Floyd County

October 8, 2013

Costly DNA expert testifies in Camm case

Richard Eikelenboom’s testimony points toward Boney; costs are $250K-plus

LEBANON — Jurors in the third murder trial of former Indiana State Trooper David Camm got a glimpse of the escalating costs associated with the case Tuesday when a famous Dutch forensic expert called by the defense said his expenses have exceeded $250,000 and are still rising.

Richard Eikelenboom — a “touch DNA” expert who testified in the 2011 Caylee Anthony murder case and helped clear the parents of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her 1996 death — testified Tuesday that he didn’t know how high his bill would be for work done related to new evidence that Camm’s attorneys hope will clear their client. Asked by special prosecutor Stan Levco if he’d checked to see the latest tally on costs that will be picked up by taxpayers, Eikelenboom responded: “No, honestly not.”

See related story: "Floyd County officials approve loan to help with Camm expenses."

Camm, who left the state police four months before he was charged with killing his wife and two children in September 2000 at their Georgetown home, has been convicted twice in their murders but has also seen both convictions overturned. The cost to Floyd County for all the Camm-related trials and expenses since 2000 is expected to exceed $4.4 million by year’s end. Since Camm is being represented by public defenders, the cost of the defense team’s experts are being paid with tax dollars, as are the prosecution costs.

For Camm, the testimony of Eikelenboom may prove critical.  

Eikelenboom — who moved to Colorado from the Netherlands in 2009 to set up an independent forensic-science consulting company with his wife, Selma — testified Tuesday that the DNA testing he ran on clothing at the murder scene points to another man, Charles Boney, as the killer.

“This is very strong evidence against Charles Boney,” Eikelenboom said of a series of DNA test results from skin cells found clothes and other items at the murder scene.

Boney has been convicted of conspiring with David Camm to murder Camm’s wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5. The defense contends Boney acted on his own, while prosecutors argue that Boney stood by as Camm killed his family in the garage of their home. Boney testified against Camm just weeks ago, but Eikelenboom’s DNA findings conflict with what Boney said on the stand.

Boney contended he never touched Kim Camm or her children. But Eikelenboom said the DNA testing he performed shows Boney touched Kim Camm’s sweater and underwear, likely during a struggle before she was shot to death. Eikelenboom also said the DNA tests showed Boney touched Jill Camm, who also died of a gunshot wound, as did her brother.

Eikelenboom, on the stand all day, testified in a heavy Dutch accent about the complex “touch DNA” testing he specializes in, and the statistical analysis he employs to determine the matching of a DNA profile with a likely suspect.

He said the DNA from skin cells left on evidence through contact are more likely to break down faster over time than DNA found in blood, making it more difficult to produce a full DNA profile in older cases. He spent hours explaining to the jury how he sampled chromosomal locations in multiple ways, and then produced a range of statistical probabilities matching partial DNA profiles to Boney and the Camm family.

He found, for example, that the DNA on Kim Camm’s shirt was a strong match for Boney, who is black. He said the probability that the DNA belonged to a white person was a 1 in 17,000 probability; and a 1 in 23 million probability that it was from another African-American.

Eikelenboom said there was only a 1 in 25 chance that a partial DNA profile found in Kim Camm’s underwear belonged to someone other than Boney.

At one point during Eikelenboom’s testimony — after he said he found Kim Camm’s DNA on a sweatshirt belonging to Boney — Camm’s lead defense attorney, Richard Kammen, donned a similar sweatshirt to demonstrate how Boney may have attacked Kim Camm. Kammen grabbed his co-counsel, Stacy Uliana, around the neck as she grabbed Kammen’s arm to pull away.

Uliana’s reference to Kammen posing as a “dummy” to demonstrate the defense’s theory was one of the few moments of levity during the long day.

Eikelenboom is expected to return to the witness stand today, as prosecutors attempt to discredit some of his findings. Eikelenboom is forensic scientist specializing in trace evidence recovery and bloodstain pattern analysis. Before moving to Colorado in 2009, he worked for the Netherlands Forensic Institute Department of Biology.

Eikelenboom and his wife have been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including that of 6-year-old Ramsey, whose bound body was found in the basement of her Boulder, Colo., home in 1996. Her parents were suspected of being involved in her death. The Eikelenbooms later worked with police to clear the Ramseys in their daughter’s death, using touch DNA testing.

Eikelenboom also testified for the defense in the 2011 murder trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, in the summer of 2008. Anthony was acquitted of murder.

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

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