By ROD ROSE
The Lebanon Reporter
Opening arguments in David Camm’s trial on charges he killed his family will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
A jury of eight men and four women had been chosen by 11 a.m. Tuesday; the selection of the two men and five women who will serve as alternates concluded shortly after 3:30 p.m.
“The presentation of evidence will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday,” said Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer, who is sitting second chair to Special Prosecutor Stan Levco. “We picked four alternates before lunch.”
It will take about three weeks for the prosecution to present its case, Meyer said. He estimated the trial could last six to eight weeks.
“We’ll probably take some Fridays and Mondays off,” Meyer said, in consideration of the jury.
Special Judge Jonathan Dartt had allotted two weeks for jury selection, Meyer said. Tuesday was the seventh day of jury selection, which began Aug. 12.
Camm has been twice convicted of shooting to death his wife, Kimberly, 35 and their children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, at their Georgetown home in September 2000.
Both convictions were overturned on appeal. The trial was moved to Boone County because of extensive coverage by newspapers and TV stations in Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky, where interest in the case is intense.
Given the history and the time elapsed, many of Tuesday’s questions have focused on how much prospective jurors know about the case, whether they can put such knowledge aside, how they define “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” and how they would square conflicting testimony from witnesses presented as experts.
“To me, there’s no difference between a ‘reasonable doubt’ and ‘no doubt’ because I don’t have any unreasonable doubts,” prospective juror No. 259 told the court.
She hedged when asked to provide an example of an “unreasonable’ doubt,” admitting that she would have to consider the probability of a terrorist attack on the courthouse “improbable, but not impossible.”
“Nobody’s going to ask you to focus on the equivalent of little green men,” defense attorney Richard Kammen told the panel.
Prospective juror No. 259 was excused.
Conversely, both sides chose to keep prospective juror No. 234, who asserted that his scientific background left him inclined to view “blood evidence” skeptically, and to distrust all lawyers on general principle.
“I’m focused on real science, not junk science,” he said. “And lawyers’ advertising, the money, it turns me off.”
Nagging doubts regarding Camm’s previous trials offered the cause to dismiss prospective juror No. 269, a telecom salesman who volunteered that financial hardship would make it difficult to serve. Jurors will be paid $40 per day plus driving expenses. The trial is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.
“I don’t know why [Camm] would be convicted, and something overturned it,” juror No. 269 told the court. “I can’t imagine it being something large. I think the convictions probably should have stood.”
But a self-described “nanny between jobs” maintained that family ties to law enforcement and prior service as a jury foreman would allow her to keep an open mind.
“The prior [convictions] doesn’t matter to me,” said prospective juror No. 273, who has three grown children and five grandchildren.
Her daughter is a police officer in Iowa.
“I ask a lot of questions,” she said. What matters is the here and now.”
Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys offered objections. Juror No. 273 remained in the pool.
More than 100 people could be called as witnesses at the trial. Read ongoing coverage at newsandtribune.com and in the print edition.
— Contributing Writer Gordon Boyd contributed to this report. This article was produced as a partnership between the News and Tribune and WAVE 3 News.