News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 23, 2014

Justice system questioned

Former state trooper speaks on trials, conviction, time behind bars, acquittal

TERRE HAUTE — David Camm says that when he looks critically at the Indiana State Police today, he sees arrogance, ego and the desire for personal — even monetary — gain.

An Indiana State Police trooper, himself, for 10 years before retiring in his late 30s to enter a family business,. Camm, now 50, said he was naive at the time of the investigation into the September 2000 slaying of his wife, Kim, and their two children: 7-year-old Brad and 5-year-old Jill.

When he called the Indiana State Police Post at Sellersburg to request help after finding his family murdered in the garage of its southern Indiana home, Camm said he expected the killer to be found and brought to justice. He didn’t expect to become the only suspect less than 72 hours later — and to be convicted and spend 13 years behind bars.

“I wish I hadn’t been so naive,” Camm told the Tribune-Star on Tuesday, just minutes before his first public talk about his personal experience with Indiana’s criminal justice system. Camm spoke at Indiana State University to a criminology class that also heard from Randy Steidl, a Paris, Ill., man who had his double-murder conviction overturned after 27 years in prison.

Camm was arrested just days after the killings and charged in  the triple homicide. He maintained his innocence through two jury convictions that were overturned on appeal, and he was found not guilty at the end of a third jury trial last October.

Since his release, Camm told he Tribune-Star that he has spoken with his uncle — also a retired police officer — about his experience and his frustration with the criminal justice system. Though he was not a detective who handled murder cases, Camm made plenty of arrests that resulted in prison sentences.

“We both have thought, ‘Good God, I hope I never did anything like this to anyone,” Camm said of his perception of the dogged determination of his former colleagues to prove his guilt. “The individuals who investigated wouldn’t allow the possibility of being wrong.”

Both Camm and Steidl were accompanied at ISU by Bill Clutter, a private investigator from Springfield, Ill., who founded a national organization called Investigating Innocence in January 2013 after working with the Camm defense team.

Clutter said Camm’s first two trials were plagued by local prejudice from the prosecution and law enforcement, and it took the unbiased review of a federal judge as “the arbitrator of truth” to get a third trial in which the jury saw the introduction of new DNA evidence that put another man at the crime scene.

Camm began telling his story on Tuesday by recalling the night he arrived home to find his family dead. He said up to that point, his life was going well, and his family was enjoying a new life that started after he went to work at United Dynamics.

He had been at work that day, he told the ISU audience, and had gone out to play basketball as he usually did on a Thursday evening, but he was later than usual coming home.

He said that as he pulled into the driveway at about 9:20 p.m., he was thinking that his wife would have already readied the children for bed and that she would be upset that he was late.

But as the garage door rose, he said, his life changed in a fraction of a second. He saw his wife lying on the floor, shot dead, in a pool of blood. He found their children inside his wife’s Ford Bronco. His daughter was still strapped into her seat, and was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

His son had also been shot, and Camm said he reached over his daughter to get his son out of the vehicle to attempt to revive the boy. That was when blood from his daughter transferred onto the shirt he was wearing, he said, and that is the “evidence” that the defense team used against him in three trials.

“To say I was clear of thought was untrue,” Camm said of his reactions that evening. “But I had to do something. I grabbed Brad around Jill and laid him down and started giving CPR to my 7-year-old son. It was a bit overwhelming.”

Eventually, Camm said, he called the state police, screaming, “Send everybody. My family’s dead.”

Camm said he ran to get help across the road at his grandfather’s house, where his uncle also lived. His uncle ran with him back to the garage. Police arrived, he said, and then began what he called, “a travesty on top of the deaths” of his family.

Camm said he knew that police almost always assumed that the husband or wife was the prime suspect in family violence crimes. But he didn’t realize how bad his situation was until after the arrival of the investigator, who Camm believes made up his mind about Camm’s guilt within 5 minutes.

The investigator was presented at trial as a “blood spatter expert” who could prove that Camm was the trigger man in the shootings. Camm said it was later revealed that the expert, Rob Stites, did not have the training or credentials that he claimed.

Camm credited his defense team with pushing for additional DNA testing that led to the arrest of Charles Boney, whose discarded sweatshirt was found at the Camm crime scene. Though Boney at first denied his involvement, a handprint on Kim Camm’s vehicle was connected to Boney, who was then arrested in 2005.

At a second trial, Boney and Camm both were convicted in the killings, but Camm was acquitted of conspiracy on a directed verdict when the judge declared that the prosecution had put on no evidence of a conspiracy. Camm was returned to prison at Michigan City, but he filed another direct appeal of his conviction.

“I don’t know how bad hell’s gonna be,” Camm said of his time served at the Indiana State Prison, “but that was bad.”

In the third trial by a different prosecutor, the prosecution “held to the level of the law,” Camm said.

In response to a student question on what it was like to hear the verdict of the third jury, Camm said he had already heard the word “guilty” six times from the previous juries, but he felt good about the potential outcome as the third jury returned to the courtroom. Some jury members were looking at him and smiling.

Camm said he was waiting to hear the “n” sound of the “not guilty” verdicts, rather than “guilty.”

“It wasn’t until the third ‘not’ came out that I realized it was over,” he said.

Surprising his audience, Camm said that during his prison incarceration, he never had any problems or threats from other inmates. The roughest times came on the basketball court during recreation, he said.

What kept him going during his 13 years behind bars, he said, was his religious faith.

“I relied a lot on my faith,” Camm said. “Where else are you gonna go?”

Camm said that while he sat in his jail cell, he would receive letters of encouragement and hear news of his appeal process, and all he could do was hope for a good outcome.

“Sometimes, it’s just about hoping to have hope,” he said of his days in prison.

Since his release, Camm has returned to the small Floyd County community of Georgetown where his relatives still reside. He said he sees individuals who were involved in the investigation and his trials, and he goes out of his way to say hello to those people. He said he usually gets a shocked look in response.

“I’m just moving forward,” he said.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET072514 invenadamson step.jpg ‘Minds-on camp’

    Sylvia Ann Adamson longed for privacy, so she invented a solution to that problem at “Camp Invention.”

    July 25, 2014 5 Photos

  • Linda Tincher.jpg Riley lion’s roar goes global

    Linda L. Tincher has become the first woman from Indiana elected to serve as an international director for Lions Clubs International. She was chosen earlier this month during the clubs’ 97th international convention in Toronto, Canada.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET072514 SPPRAK glasses.jpg Kindness ‘undercover’

    Hundreds of people gathered at Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium on Friday for a night of baseball, music, the “Green Man” and green shades.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Residents ‘stuff the bus’ with pencils, notebooks, backpacks

    After exiting a Wal-Mart store in Clinton, Roger E. Richardson stopped his shopping cart Friday in front of a large yellow South Vermillion School Corporation bus.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man faces 9 charges in homicide case

    A Solsberry man faces nine criminal charges related to a July 18 homicide and rape in rural Greene County.

    July 25, 2014 1 Story

  • maroon truck.jpg UPDATE: Rockville man dies after head-on collision

    A Rockville man has died from injuries he sustained this afternoon in a two-vehicle, head-on crash on U.S. 41 north of Lyford.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • red truck.jpg Head-on crash leaves Rockville man seriously injured

    A Rockville man was air-lifted to an Indianapolis hospital with serious injuries this afternoon following a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 41 north of Lyford.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 25, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 25, 2014

  • Measles case confirmed in Central Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials have confirmed a case of measles in Central Indiana. The Indiana State Department of Health is working with local health departments and health care providers to identify additional cases of measles, and to prevent further transmission of the disease.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

    CHICAGO (AP) — Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers will discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 4 doctors arrested after Indiana clinic raids

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say four doctors have been arrested on charges of improperly prescribing a drug used to treat painkiller addiction from several Indiana offices.

    July 25, 2014

  • holiday world thunderbird.jpg Holiday World plans new winged roller coaster

    SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) — The Holiday World amusement park in southern Indiana is building a new $22 million roller coaster that it says will launch riders to 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds, with a 14-story loop and four inversions.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indianapolis pulls future support for Amtrak line

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — City officials in Indianapolis have cast the future of an Amtrak passenger line between Indianapolis and Chicago into doubt after deciding not to provide any additional money to subsidize that line.

    July 25, 2014

  • Pence leading annual governor’s motorcycle ride

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence is leading the annual governor’s motorcycle ride from the Statehouse through southern Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • State asks judge to delay right-to-work ruling

    CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana attorney general’s office has asked a judge to put on hold his order striking down the state’s right-to-work law.

    July 25, 2014

  • MET 072414 HOESS 01KOR.jpg Voices from Auschwitz: Ties that bind

    A message that has spread like wildfire across Europe can easily translate to America.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Minimum wage frozen after 5 years

    Thursday marked the fifth anniversary since the federal minimum wage was increased, a wage U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez contends should again be raised.

    July 24, 2014

  • MET072414 CANDLES shake.jpg ISU, CANDLES join to ‘illuminate the world’

    Indiana State University and CANDLES Holocaust Museum are joining forces to educate current and future generations about the Holocaust, genocide and related issues.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • MET072414 JA hadley.jpg 50 years later, still business as usual

    Junior Achievement of the Wabash Valley marked its 50th anniversary hosting a luau Thursday at the Ohio Building in Terre Haute.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two semis collide; one driver injured

    A semi-trailer driver from North Carolina was airlifted to Methodist Hospital Thursday after his vehicle collided with another tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in far western Vigo County.

    July 24, 2014

  • Valley talent returns for show tonight

    Local musical collective Lunes Domingo is scheduled to be back at The Verve tonight to perform the last installment of its 2014 series.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police find 2 meth labs in 1 house

    The Clay County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday arrested a Staunton man and a Terre Haute woman on felony charges of manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police say man broke into prison building

    A man living at a Carlisle motel has been arrested for trespassing and criminal mischief after he allegedly kicked in a prison building door.

    July 24, 2014

  • Driver airlifted to Methodist after I-70 crash

    A semi-trailer driver from North Carolina was airlifted to Methodist Hospital today after his vehicle collided with another tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in far western Vigo County.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lunes Domingo, Bear Foote Jackson at The Verve July 25

    Local musical collective Lunes Domingo will be back at The Verve on Friday, July 25, to perform the last installment of their 2014 series. Cost is $3.

    July 24, 2014

  • West T Water Works issues boil order

    The West Terre Haute Water Works announced this morning that a boil order is in effect until further notice for the community of West Terre Haute and Sugar Creek Township.

    July 24, 2014

  • Grease fire closes Terre Haute restaurant for short time

    A grease fire closed the Golden Corral for about three hours on Wednesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 24, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bloomington helping with beer brewery’s project

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The city of Bloomington is helping a beer brewery with an expansion of its downtown restaurant and bar.

    July 24, 2014

  • Family: Teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks

    PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Haris Suleman knew that flying around the world carried risks. But like adventurers before him, the 17-year-old pilot from Indiana also believed dreams aren’t achieved without taking chances.

    July 24, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010