By Maureen Hayden
CNHI Statehouse Bureau
LEBANON, Ind. — The costs associated with the third murder trial of David Camm came up again in court Wednesday, as prosecutors questioned defense witnesses about their efforts to clear the former state trooper from charges he killed his wife and two children 13 years ago.
Under questioning by prosecutors, a Dutch forensic scientist who’s testified he found “trace DNA” evidence that links another man to the killings, said he’s billed the public defender about $350,000 since starting work on the case in March. On Tuesday, that scientist, Richard Eikelenboom, said he couldn’t recall the exact amount of his bill.
Later in the day, former FBI agent Gary Dunn said the estimated $260,000 he’s been paid for his work as a private detective hired by Camm’s defense team nine years ago — after Camm’s first conviction was overturned — doesn’t include “a couple thousand hours” of work for which he’s never been billed. About half that amount was paid by Camm’s relatives for the defense team in the second trial; the other half has been billed through the public defender appointed for Camm in this third trial.
The issue of money, in a case that’s nearing $4.4 million in costs to taxpayers, arose as the prosecution worked to undermine the defense’s argument that Camm is innocent of charges that he fatally shot his wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, in the garage of their Floyd County, Ind., home in September 2000. Camm had left the state police four months before the murders occurred.
Camm’s lead defense attorney, Richard Kammen, was clearly irked by the prosecutors’ questions about money. Pointing to the prosecution’s team, including its investigators, Kammen asked Dunn repeatedly if he thought they were being paid for their work on the case. “The only guy not being paid to be here is Mr. Camm,” Kammen said.
Much of Wednesday was spent by lead prosecutor Stan Levco, a special prosecutor appointed to the case, in the cross-examination of Eikelenboom, a “touch DNA” expert who’s testified in several high-profile cases since moving to Colorado in 2009 from the Netherlands.
On Tuesday, Eikelenboom gave a densely detailed account of the science of DNA, and how the DNA tests he ran on clothing found at the crime scene pointed away from David Camm and toward Charles Boney, who’s already been convicted of conspiring with Camm to murder Kimberly Camm and her children. The defense contends Boney acted alone.
Levco pushed Eikelenboom to admit his private forensic lab in Colorado has yet to be accredited by U.S. officials that oversee crime labs. Eikelenboom’s lab in the Netherlands, which he still maintains, is accredited by the organization that oversees European labs.
Levco also questioned Eikelenboom about his earlier testimony that he found partial DNA profiles matching that of Boney on Kimberly Camm’s sweater and underwear. He asked Eikelenboom, who’s been critical of the initial investigation, if his DNA test results could have occurred because evidence had been “contaminated” by investigators who didn’t follow proper procedures.
“It’s possible,” Eikelenboom said. “But it’s not so likely.”
Dunn, the defense’s investigator, spent much of his time on the stand talking about the extensive phone records collected by police in the case who were looking for a connection between Camm and Boney, a serial felon with a history of violence against women. Dunn said he scoured the phone records, including multiple cellphones used by Boney as well as pay phones located near a grocery store where Boney said he’d met Camm prior to the murders.
“I never saw a connection,” Dunn said.
Outside the presence of the jury, Kammen said Dunn had also found phone records that showed Boney had made $1,000 worth of calls to a phone sex line in the weeks leading up to his arrest, in March 2005, after Indiana State Police identified Boney’s DNA on a sweatshirt found at the crime scene.
The trial, which began in mid-August with jury selection, is expected to go several more weeks. The defense still has more witnesses to call and has yet to reveal whether it will put David Camm on the stand. After the defense rests, the prosecution is expected to call several rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments begin.
Camm has twice been convicted in the murders of his wife and children, in 2002 and 2006. But both convictions were overturned by appeals courts that ruled there was improper evidence introduced during the first two trials.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.