Camm Trial 8/26: Wife, children died within minutes - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Camm Trial 8/26: Wife, children died within minutes, even seconds of wounds from ‘cheap’ handgun

Gunshot residue indicates that Camm's son, Bradley, and five-year-old daughter, Jill, were shot at close range, testified Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Tracey Corey, the examiner who autopsied the children. Gunshot residue indicates that Camm's son, Bradley, and five-year-old daughter, Jill, were shot at close range, testified Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Tracey Corey, the examiner who autopsied the children.

LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - David Camm's wife and two young children died within minutes -- shot with a semi-automatic pistol described as a ‘cheap, Saturday Night Special' – pointed directly in the face of his 7-year-old – medical examiners and a firearms expert told the Boone County jury hearing Camm's third murder trial Monday.

Gunshot residue indicates that Camm's son, Bradley, and five-year-old daughter, Jill, were shot at close range, testified Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Tracey Corey, the examiner who autopsied the children.

"He (Brad) was looking at the muzzle of the gun," Dr. Corey testified, explaining that injuries to both sides of his face are ‘consistent' with a shot fired at close range.

A single gunshot struck the boy in the left shoulder and exited his upper back, severing the spine at the junction of his neck and thorax, Dr. Corey explained.

"He would not have been unconscious, but he would have been paralyzed, he couldn't have moved his legs."

Jurors viewed photographs taken at the crime scene and during autopsy, as well as diagrams detailing the wounds the victims suffered September 28, 2000. Through the presentation, David Camm sat, head lowered. At times, his eyes appeared to redden slightly.

A blood trail, identified as Brad Camm's, indicates that he was in the rear cargo area of his mother's Ford Bronco when he was shot.  His body, and that of his mother Kim, 35, were found on the floor by the Bronco in the garage of their Georgetown, IN home.

In his two previous trials, and in opening arguments last Thursday, defense attorneys have maintained that David Camm removed his son from the vehicle and tried to revive him through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

"There was no way to indicate whether it (CPR) was performed," Dr. Corey said, in answer to a juror's written question.

Jill Camm's body was found in the Bronco's rear passenger seat. She and her mother each had been shot once in the head, autopsy records show.

All the wounds ‘through and through' (exiting their bodies) said Dr. Donna Stewart, the medical examiner who performed Kim Camm's autopsy.

Tests of Kim Camm's hair and close examination of her skin revealed no traces of gunshot residue, Dr. Stewart continued, "so I could not tell how far the shooter was from her."

Camm was found clad only in a sweater and underwear; her slacks were missing.

"But I found no physical evidence that she had been raped, or sexually assaulted," Dr. Stewart testified.

"No anatomical evidence," defense attorney Richard Kammen clarified during cross-examination. "That does not mean there couldn't have been an attempt."

The jury will not hear claims that a ‘pressure injury' to Jill Camm's chest– a pattern of bruising and small broken blood vessels – could be evidence of an attempt to molest her.

"It (and blunt force trauma to the genitalia) could be caused by molestation," Dr. Corey testified outside the jury's presence.

 "But I could not say that had anything to do with whether sexual assault occurred, and I've never said that."

Unsubstantiated allegations that David Camm molested his daughter provided one basis for overturning his convictions in his second trial.

Autopsy photographs reveal abrasions on Kim Camm's chin, elbow and the top of her left foot. They also show bruising on her big toe, second toe, and fifth toe. Dr. Stewart offered no concrete explanations for those injuries, but did not rule out that Camm could have suffered them in a fall, or in a struggle with her killer.

"I found no evidence that she was choked or had ribs broken,"  Dr. Stewart said, responding to a juror's question. 

Investigators recovered three bullets, three casings and one cartridge from the Bronco and the garage, according to Ed Wessel, the Indiana State firearms specialist who examined them.

Police and prosecutors haven't recovered or identified a murder weapon. 

But based on his analysis of ‘class' and ‘individual' characteristics, and research via an FBI database, Wessel told them to look for a  .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun,  manufactured by Lorcin, likely before 1995.

"Why that, when as many as 60 companies make a .380,' defense attorney Stacey Uliana asked.

"I eliminated all those without separate ejectors and that don't use hammers."

Pre-1995 Lorcins are prone to jamming when fired, and leave particularly distinctive markings on the ejected casings, Wessel testified.

"They're cheap guns, what you'd call a ‘Saturday Night Special,' he said.

Strictly for demonstration, he showed jurors a Lorcin L380 similar to the model that he maintains the Camm's killer used.

Investigators tried to lift fingerprints from the casings, but the results offered nothing traceable, according to John Singleton, the Indiana State Police analyst who examined the latent prints.

His analysis tied a palm-print found near the roof of the Bronco to Charles Darnell Boney, the serial offender later convicted of the Camm killings.

But Singleton was unable to match any fingerprints lifted at the scene to David Camm, nor to the murder victims, in part, he said, because the investigative work was ‘sloppy.'

"Worst you've ever seen," defense attorney Stacey Uliana asked during cross-examination.

"Yes," Singleton responded. Investigators took fingerprints from each victim. But, Singleton testified, they gave him only two prints from each child and only five prints from their mother, leaving Boney's palm-print as the only latent print readily identifiable.

Singleton was called as a prosecution witness in this trial. But he testified for the defense in Camm's first trial.

Could a print be ‘planted'? Or is that just the stuff of movies, a juror asked.

"Theoretically, it's possible, Singleton answered.  "But I've never been able to do it.

For now, at least, Special Judge John Dartt will not allow jurors to hear Singleton's and Wessel's criticisms of Stan Faith,  the former Floyd County Prosecutor who led the state's efforts in Camm's first trial. Camm's attorneys claim that a ‘rush to judgment' prompted investigators to exclude or ignore evidence that indicates somebody else killed his family.

Singleton and Wessel told the judge that they, and subordinates, had felt pressure to shade testimony when discussing DNA, fingerprints, or ‘trace evidence.'

"He (Faith) wanted you to state something beyond the science, or what it was telling you," Singelton testified.

"They (examiners) were never asked to lie," Wessel said. "We told them to stick to their guns."

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