David Camm

avatar Miss CBS 48 Hours episode David Camm "Walking Free"? Watch it here! He was exonerated after spending 13 years in prison.
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David Camm and his family.


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‘I’m just moving forward’

David Camm - October 24, 2013 Verdict: NOT GUILTY!

On October 24, 2013, David Camm, walked free after 13-years in prison after a jury in Lebanon, Indiana found him not guilty in a third re-trial. His case was the first exoneration for Investigating Innocence, which was started earlier that year. Bill Clutter, who started the project, was a member of Camm’s defense team and suggested conducting an animated crime scene reconstruction, which helped persuade the jury that David Camm is innocent. Students at the University of Indiana assisted Clutter and the Camm defense team in reviewing the case and provided a fresh set of eyes.

Clutter simulated how the actual killer, Charles Boney, infamously known as the "Shoe Bandit" who had been released from prison a few weeks before the murders after serving nearly a decade for holding women at gunpoint, braced his left hand leaving a palm print on the outside of Kim Camm’s Ford Bronco as he knelt on the floorboard and extended his right hand to fire the gun that killed five year-old Jill, and her brother Brad, age 7.

David Camm, a decorated Indiana Police Officer, was wrongfully charged with the murders of his family based on junk science.

On September 28, 2000, David Camm came home at approximately 9:26 p.m. and found his wife Kimberly, and his two children Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, shot to death in the garage of their home in Georgetown, Indiana. His wife and two children were last seen leaving swim practice and heading home around 7:00 p.m.; which was about the same time David arrived at the Georgetown Community Church to play basketball. David, a former Indiana State Police trooper, had been playing basketball with 11 other people at the time his wife and children were killed.

Three days later, David Camm was charged with his family’s murder based on a misinterpretation of bloodstain patterns on his t-shirt. There were 8 small stains of blood that were mistakenly interpreted as high velocity impact spatter by a crime scene photographer who had no formal training or experience in bloodstain pattern analysis. The photographer, Robert Stites, was sent to the crime scene by Rodney Englert, who was hired by Floyd County prosecutors as a blood stain and crime scene expert, since Englert was not available to visit the crime scene, he sent his photographer, Stites instead.

Some of the leading experts in the country on bloodstain pattern analysis analyzed the bloodstains on David’s t-shirt. They have concluded that the 8 tiny bloodstains were actually transfer stains rather than high velocity impact stains from a gun. These transfer stains occurred when David’s t-shirt came into contact with his daughter’s hair when he removed his injured son from the vehicle.

The main expert used to convict David Camm, Rodney Englert, was also involved in convicting another innocent person, Julie Rea. Katherine Liell, who represented Camm after he was convicted, contacted private investigator Bill Clutter in June of 2000 because her other client, Julie Rea was under investigation by a Special Prosecutor Edwin Parkinson (the same person who wrongfully charged Curtis Lovelace in Quincy, Illinois). Clutter was investigating serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells for the 1986 murders of Dyke and Karen Rhoads in Paris, Illinois, that led to two innocent men being framed for that murder, Randy Steidl and Herb Whitlock. Clutter recognized similarities in Julie Rea’s case (a knife from the kitchen of the victims was used in both cases, and the time was identical, with both crimes occurring at 4 a.m.). Since her client was facing the death penalty if she were charged, Liell planned to hire Clutter under a new reform called the Capital Litigation Trust Fund that was enacted as one of the death penalty reforms. Clutter suggested if her client was charged, the first suspect that fit the MO was a serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells who targeted children after his release from prison in 1997, the year Joel was murdered.

Special Prosecutor Parkinson, like prosecutors in New Albany did in the Camm case, relied on bloodstain "expert" Rod Englert to provide probable cause to arrest and convict both Camm and Rea in 2002. Englert claimed that there was evidence of cast-off stains on Julie’s nightshirt. Clutter was never hired by Liell because Special Prosecutor Parkinson filed notice of his intent not to seek the death penalty a few weeks before additional reforms by the Illinois Supreme Court went into effect that required that appointment of two capital qualified attorneys and enhanced discovery, allowing for depositions in cases where the death penalty was charged. Clutter conducted the post-conviction investigation for the Illinois Innocence Project, which Clutter started in 2001. His investigation found two key witnesses who placed Sells in Lawrenceville at the time of the murders, convincing Texas Ranger John Allen, who investigated Sells’ other crimes, to sign an affidavit in support of Julie’s petition to overturn her conviction. She was freed from prison and received a certificate of innocence.

On June 2, 2003, an ethics complaint with the American Academy of Forensic Science was lodged against Englert by a number of other bloodstain experts alleging that Englert misrepresented his education, training and experience. This prompted Englert to sue them for slander.

The bloodstain experts who signed the complaint included Herb MacDonell, (who established the professions of blood stain pattern experts in 1971, with the publication of his book "Flight Characteristics and Stain Patterns of Human Blood.") Stuart James, Terry Laber, and Bart Epstein.

MacDonell was also sued for slander for calling Englert among other things "a forensic whore", "liar-for-hire", "a very smooth charlatan" and "The Bin Laden of Bloodstains". All of these bloodstain experts that Englert sued have expressed opinions in support of David Camm’s innocence.

Almost five years after David Camm was arrested, forensic science identified the real killer; a man named Charles Boney, a career criminal who was released from prison a few months before he killed the Camm family. Yet, despite this evidence, David Camm remains in jail today awaiting a third re-trial.

This case is fraught with tunnel vision. Police and prosecutors ignored a sweatshirt found at the scene that had been purchased from the Indiana Department of Corrections that had the moniker "BACKBONE" written in black ink on the inside collar. A male DNA profile indicating the wearer’s DNA was discovered when forensic scientists from Cellmark, a private lab, swabbed the collar of the sweatshirt and obtained a full male DNA profile. In February of 2005, Charles Boney, was identified by CODIS, which is a criminal offender DNA data base. His prison nickname was BACKBONE! In addition to this evidence, Boney’s palm print was identified on the outside passenger door of the Camm’s Ford Bronco, where he placed his left palm as he leaned in with his right hand holding the gun to shoot and kill both children. The children had been seated in the backseat when they were shot. Jill was still wearing her seatbelt. Her brother Brad was attempting to escape to the back-cargo area when he was shot.

Known as "The Shoe Bandit", Boney had spent almost a decade in prison for a series of crimes in Bloomington, Indiana, in which he held women at gunpoint while he satisfied his foot fetish by stealing their shoes. David Camm’s wife had struggled with her attacker, who made her remove her shoes and her pants during the attack. Another key piece of forensic evidence is Kim Camm’s DNA that was found on the shirt sleeve of the sweatshirt, consistent with Boney’s arm around her neck and coming into contact with her mouth.

When Boney was first interviewed by the Indiana State Police, he denied knowing David Camm. Police investigators were the ones who suggested that Boney had met David Camm playing basketball when they questioned him. Boney initially denied ever playing basketball with Camm. He also claimed to have given his clothing to the Salvation Army when he was released from prison, which he later admitted was a lie. When police discovered Boney’s palm print on the outside passenger door of Kim Camm’s Ford Bronco a few weeks later, he changed his story again. At this point, he was given two choices. He could be either a witness for the prosecution to help prosecutors re-convict David Camm, or he could be a defendant facing the death penalty. After giving several contradictory statements, Boney claimed that he met David Camm playing basketball at a community park, after which he agreed to sell David Camm the gun that killed his family. He said he gave the gun to Camm wrapped in his sweatshirt. However, this story fails to account for how Kim Camm’s DNA from saliva got on the sleeve of his sweatshirt or how Boney’s hand print was found on the Camm family Bronco at the scene of the crime. Prosecutor’s admitted that the credibility of its star witness Charles Boney is doubtful.

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