News From Terre Haute, Indiana


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
  • MET073114griffin markers.jpg Trail blazers

    Blake Griffin remembers when he and his brother, Dale, would ride their bikes along wooded trails in the wilderness area of Fowler Park.

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Officials say city ‘overspent’

    Two Terre Haute councilmen told the Taxpayers Association of Vigo County Thursday they think the city is overspending, but they gave no solutions to reduce expenses.

    July 31, 2014

  • MET073114sinkhole korenski.jpg Block downtown to close for repairs

    A sinkhole is forcing the temporary closure of a major downtown street beginning Monday.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 012312 MICK NEWPORT.jpg Wave of retirees at Vigo schools

    Valarie Bailey has worked for the Vigo County School Corp. for 26 years in roles that included at-risk counselor, school social worker, assistant student services director and curriculum coordinator.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire house to fire dept.

    A legal battle has been resolved to restore ownership of the community fire station in Fayette Township.

    July 31, 2014

  • Road Closings

    14th Street, from Oak to Poplar streets, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 9 for Friends and Family Weekend.

    July 31, 2014

  • August Fire Safety Tip

    Monthly safety hint — Barbeque/grilling safety

    July 31, 2014

  • MET 073014 WESTMINISTER DIG.jpg Expanding independence

    Westminster Village, a Terre Haute retirement community, is investing $1.8 million to construct 12 new villa homes, officials announced Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014 5 Photos

  • Decades later, dry cleaners leave blemish

    Fifty years ago, about 30 dry cleaners did business in the city of Terre Haute. City officials are now cleaning up the mess some left behind.

    July 30, 2014 1 Story

  • MARK BENNETT: Year of River sets example for state

    Terre Haute pays more attention to the Wabash River these days.

    July 30, 2014

  • Climate of less regulation, more chemical spills leaves ‘historical pollution,’ NCA director says

    Former dry cleaning sites are an environmental problem all over the state, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

    July 30, 2014 1 Story

  • MET073014parks bbushee.jpg Camping turnout low for first half of summer

    Camping revenue for the past two months has dropped in Vigo County parks, a downturn park officials say is difficult to attribute to a new park policy limiting campers’ stays to 14 days in the three county parks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 073014 DESTROYED.jpg Devastating fire takes out mobile home

    A Seelyville mobile home sustained heavy damage in a fire early Wednesday morning.
    Lost Creek Township firefighters were called to the scene in the 2200 block of Tabortown Road south of U.S. 40 at about 2 a.m.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Man posts bond after fatal wreck

    An Oct. 7 trial date has been set for a Terre Haute man accused of driving while intoxicated causing death.

    July 30, 2014 3 Stories

  • Driver injured, airlifted, cited for failure to yield

    An elderly woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon in Sullivan County, according to Indiana State Police.

    July 30, 2014

  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

  • MET 072814 BUS MEYERROSE.jpg Bus safety features

    New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pendergast.jpg Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident

    Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • MET 072814 CONTAMINATED Cleaner may have contaminated water

    Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion

    Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.

    July 29, 2014

  • rush-hr.jpg Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street

    July 29, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo 49ers Open Posh, High-tech Stadium in California Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza

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

Real Estate News