LEBANON, IN (WAVE) - Nelson Lockhart expected September 28, 2000 to be little different from any other Thursday. It was his assigned day to watch over his elderly father at his Georgetown home, directly across from the house of his nephew, David Camm. His world, and Camm's, would change shortly after 9:30 p.m. when Camm pounded on the kitchen door.
"I hear David screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Nelson, Nelson, come quick, something's happened to my kids,'" Lockhart told a Boone County jury Wednesday morning.
Lockhart is the fourth witness the defense has called in his nephew's third trial for the murders of his wife Kimberly, 35, son Bradley, 7, and daughter Jill, 5. Lockhart had been on the phone with his brother, Sam, to whom he relayed Camm's plea. Because he left so quickly Lockhart was still barefoot when he followed Camm and found him in his garage.
"When I see David, he's down over Brad, doing CPR," said Lockhart said as he wiped tears away. "He's down on the floor, yelling ‘breathe.'"
"I see Kim laying - laying on the floor, on her back, a pool of blood around her head," Lockhart continued slowly. "I asked about Jill. David says she's in the car."
Lockhart told jurors he climbed into Kim's Bronco on the driver's side to check on his grand niece, and found her slumped in the rear passenger seat.
"I called her name, I touched her. She was cold and clammy," said Lockhart.
Then he saw Camm, still trying to revive his little boy.
"I told him, I think they're all gone," Lockhart testified. "And David kept yelling ‘why couldn't I have been with them? Why did I have to play basketball?'"
From then on, Lockhart told jurors he tried to put himself in police officer mode. Lockhart spent twelve years with Kentucky State Police, serving on the security detail for two governors. He had also retired the Jefferson County, KY Police Department after more than two decades of service.
For Lockhart, that meant treating a family loss as a crime scene. It meant preventing Camm, and his own brother, Sam Lockhart, from re-entering the family garage. It meant securing the family dog to ensure she wouldn't contaminate potential evidence, and telling the lead investigator for the Indiana State Police, family friend Sean Clemons, to bring in a bloodhound to search the property.
"I wanted everything out there," Lockhart told jurors.
But prosecutors allege that Camm staged the murders and used his uncle to help craft an alibi.
"When do you stop CPR?" special prosecutor Stan Levco asked.
"When you're sure the person is dead," Lockhart responded.
"But Brad had already been removed, and David already had had the chance to perform CPR," Levco continued. "Did you ask him why he stopped (to come summon you)?"
"I can't read into his mind why he did it," Lockhart answered. "He (Camm) was alone. He probably knew that he needed help and came to get me."
Lockhart's father's home is only about two hundred yards from Camm's, separated by an access road that feeds both properties. But Lockhart maintains that he was in the living room, at the back of the house, watching television with his father, when Camm's door knock came.
Lockhart implied, but has not stated directly, that he was unable to see Camm's property, or nor did he notice unusual activity, since last seeing his nephew shortly before 5 p.m.
Camm insists he was playing basketball at Georgetown Community Church, about four miles away, when his family was murdered. Tom Jolly, a family friend, told jurors that he was certain Camm never left the church gym between 8:15 and 9 p.m. when he dropped by to check on the weekly ballgames. Jolly said Camm was on the court when he arrived, but took a break after his ballgame ended about 8:30.
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