By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
David Camm was found not guilty of three counts of murder Thursday by a Boone County jury, but his innocence remains in question in his home community.
“I’m very angry about the verdict,” said Floyd County resident Rob Payne.
He sat inside the Hitching Post Tavern in downtown New Albany on Thursday and discussed the jury’s decision just about a block from the Floyd County courthouse where Camm was found guilty in 2002 of the murders of his wife and two children.
The crimes took place in 2000, but Floyd County has been gripped by the gruesome slayings of Camm’s wife and two kids and the fallout from two overturned guilty convictions — in 2004 and 2009 — for more than 13 years.
“The first two times it was mishandled,” Payne said. “They tried to ramrod it through from the beginning.”
Most customers that watched the announcement of the verdict or stopped in the restaurant and bar after the decision was made voiced their displeasure with the result, Hitching Post Manager Stella Baylor said. They were upset about the not guilty ruling, and they realized the toll the trials have taken on the county in more than one way, she continued.
“It’s put us in debt — big time debt,” Baylor said.
Floyd County recently approved a $475,000 interfund loan to help pay for the third Camm trial. Baylor said the county — which is dealing with a $3.6 million shortfall already — could be in further financial trouble if Camm were to sue for damages related to the trials. Cost estimates for all three trials have totaled about $4.5 million.
Floyd County Council President John Schellenberger said Thursday the county will receive some money back in costs for the latest Camm trial. Because it’s in the public defender reimbursement program, 40 percent of trial expenses for public defense is reimbursable to the county, according Kathryn Dolan, spokeswoman for the Indiana Supreme Court.
Any funds that are reimbursed will be used to payoff the interfund loan for the trial, Schellenberger said.
County Council Vice President Dana Fendley said she knows the Renn family — the relatives of Kim Camm, David Camm’s slain wife — and the Camm family, and that she sympathized with both.
“I’m glad that we won’t have another trial, but I feel so sorry for both families,” Fendley said.
County Councilman Tom Pickett shared Fendley’s remorse, and added it was difficult to predict before the verdict was read which way the jury would swing.
“You never know what’s going to transpire with those things,” Pickett said.
One man who asked not to be identified said during the discussion at the Hitching Post that no one will probably ever know what actually happened on the night the crimes took place.
New Albany resident Nancy Miller said that the rulings that certain testimony and statements from the first trials were inadmissible seemed to affect the jury’s decision this time around.
“I just think things that were allowed in the past weren’t allowed with this trial,” Miller said inside Quills Coffee in downtown New Albany.
She added she was “shocked” by the verdict.
“I’m a native here and I’ve gone through the other two trials, and I’m just surprised,” Miller said.