News and Tribune

September 10, 2013

Camm trial: Defense finds ‘inconsistencies’

Despite findings, defense can’t touch Boney’s past

By GORDON BOYD
WAVE 3 News

LEBANON — Indiana’s Rules of Evidence and court orders prevented David Camm’s defense team from using Charles Boney’s criminal history against him after Boney claimed to have heard Camm fire the shots that killed his wife Kim and their young children on Sept. 28, 2000.

The only hope to ‘open that door’ would be by prompting Boney himself to turn the knob.

Tuesday, lead counsel Richard Kammen tried repeatedly. But whenever Boney got close, prosecutors would keep the door shut by calling conferences with Special Judge Jon Dartt. And Kammen would shift gears when those conferences ended.

Early on, he prodded Boney about Kim Camm’s shoes.

“You remember picking them because you were worried about DNA, but you can’t remember dates and times,” Kammen asked.

“I remember seeing Mrs. Camm didn’t have on socks,” Boney replied.

Monday, Boney had told jurors that he’d tripped over the shoes after running in to the Camm’s garage to investigate what he believed were screams and gunfire.

Tuesday, prosecutors stopped Kammen he before could ask Boney to explain why he would key in on those details of a grisly, complicated murder scene.

It would have taken jurors back to opening arguments, when Kammen told them that Boney had a ‘foot fetish.’ It’s the basis for several of Boney’s convictions and prison sentences for robbery and assault. But jurors couldn’t hear about it, unless Boney acknowledged it first.

That restricted Camm’s team to highlighting and probing ‘inconsistencies’ in Boney’s accounts of his role in the Camms’ murders.

“They’ve been kind of a work in progress,” Kammen said.

The defense showed jurors part of an interview Boney gave to WAVE 3 News in 2005. In it, Boney claimed to have given the sweatshirt away. But he revealed that the shirt contained other ‘markers’ besides his prison name, ‘Backbone,’ written in the collar.

 “It had my DOC [Department of Corrections inmate] number,” he told Kammen.

“So if somebody had seen that [in 2000], they wouldn’t even have needed DNA [to link Boney to the murders],” Kammen said. “They could have just made a phone call.”

Boney was tried, and convicted of the Camm murders in 2006. Tuesday, he conceded that he didn’t name David Camm as the shooter until police confronted him with specific details regarding the sweatshirt and their evidence against Camm.

“He [ISP Detective Myron Wilkerson] told you ‘it’s better to be a witness than a defendant, correct?” Kammen asked.

“He could have said that, sir,” Boney replied.

Boney also admitted that he’d told different stories concerning how often he’d claimed to have visited Camm’s Georgetown home before the murders. Initially, he told detectives that Camm had ask that he follow him there on three occasions.

But Monday, he told jurors he’d been there only twice. First, after Camm bought the first of two ‘untraceable’ guns he’d requested that Boney acquire. The final trip, Boney said, delivered the second .380 caliber pistol that he claims Camm used to kill his family.

“These officers are providing you information, giving you ‘Intel’ [intelligence]?” Kammen asked.

“Yes sir,” Boney replied.

Such ‘intel’ would get him into trouble.

 “You told them you met Camm and drove out to his house at 5:30 [the night of the murders], but detectives knew that was nonsense,” Kammen told Boney. By then, investigators knew that Camm had accepted a food delivery there just before 7 p.m.

Monday, Boney told jurors that the agreed-upon ‘meet up’ time was 7 p.m.

But he could not explain how he and Camm set their meeting times because they never talked by phone.

“Didn’t you tell Det. Wilkerson in 2005 that that puzzled you as well?” Kammen asked. “But didn’t Wilkerson then ask if you had met at ‘Better Way?’

‘Better Way’ is a convenience store in New Albany, adjacent to a meat market run by relatives of Camm’s wife. Boney has claimed that a ‘chance meeting’ there with Camm led to the gun sales.

Kammen also suggested that Boney crafted his tale of two guns, only after detectives highlighted a major flaw in his claim that Camm tried to shoot him after killing his wife and family.

“How would Dave Camm account for four victims shot with the same weapon?” Kammen asked.

Boney might have opened one more window when Kammen asked whether he’d tried to cut a deal for a reduced sentence before testifying, while knowing full well that such offers come only afterward.

 “It’s never worked for me,” Boney responded. “That’s why I took my case to trial.”

Another bench conference. After which Kammen left the questioning to jurors.

Asked why he didn’t call 911 after the shootings, Boney called himself a coward who wanted to stay out of prison more than he was willing to give Kim Camm’s family closure.

He also told jurors that his backpack included the type of pistol that investigators have identified as the murder weapon: a .380 semi-automatic, the same caliber as those he claims to have re-sold to Camm.

Why not sell Camm a gun from your pack? “He wanted something untraceable, and I didn’t have one. And I didn’t have my backpack with me that night.”

“Sure,” Kammen replied, when Boney offered a similar answer to a follow-up inquiry. The response drew admonishment from Judge Dartt, who instructed jurors to disregard it.

The court also heard from Indiana State Police trace analyst Kathleen Boone, who told jurors that fibers taken from Boney’s sweatshirt were ‘similar’ to those pulled from the carpet in the Camm’s master bedroom, but she could not pronounce them identical. A match could have discredited Boney’s claim that he never entered Camm’s house.

Likewise, State Police Investigative Supervisor Richard Hammer testified that one of Camm’s gym shoes could have made a bloody “partial print” found in the garage, but he was unable to confirm enough “individual characteristics” to call it an exact match.

First up Wednesday will be blood pattern analyst Rod Englert, who offered what prosecutors termed an “illustration” of the difference between “transfer” and “high velocity” stains. Prosecutors have identified several dots of his daughter’s blood on Camm’s T-shirt as “high velocity back spatter;” proof that he was the shooter.

Englert placed stage blood in an eye-dropper, onto a hairpiece, and into an atomizer bottle to assert that the patterns each left would indicate how they were left.

“Sometimes [High Impact Spatter] is a mist,” Englert testified. “Sometimes it will be almost too small to see.”

“It’s an impressive show, but it has no relevance,” Kammen argued, before Judge Dartt allowed it.

“Some appellate court is going to call this for what it is: non-scientific, ‘junk science.’”

— This article was produced as a partnership between the News and Tribune and WAVE 3 News.