Posted on

Camm had a .380 handgun, officer says

A Floyd County police officer said David R. Camm told him several months prior to the murder of his family that he owned a .380-caliber handgun, the same caliber weapon used to kill Camm’s wife and two children.
The testimony, given by Lt. Frank Loop yesterday morning in Floyd Superior Court in New Albany, contradicts what one of Camm’s cousins said under oath almost two weeks ago. He said David Camm no longer owned a handgun.
Camm, 37, was arrested Oct. 1, 2000, and charged with the murders of his wife, Kimberly, 35, and their son, Bradley, 7, and daughter, Jill, 5. Their bodies were found three days earlier in the couple’s garage at their rural Georgetown home. Camm, a former Indiana State Police trooper, has been incarcerated in the Floyd County Jail since his arrest.
Loop, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, said after Camm left the state police, he inquired about becoming a reserve police officer for the Floyd County Sheriff’s Dept. During a discussion about what equipment a reserve needed, Camm told Loop that he would have to get a weapon.
Loop said he was “surprised” that Camm didn’t have a handgun, adding that Camm had said he had turned his duty weapon back in with his equipment.
“He said all he had was a .380,” Loop said.
Loop couldn’t recall the exact date that he had the conversation with Camm but said it was late April or early May, after Camm had left the state police. Loop notified ISP Det. Sean Clemons, the lead investigator in the murder case, about his conversation with Camm via a letter, dated Dec. 1, 2000.
Camm saw Loop sometime later and told him he still had not purchased a gun, the officer said. Camm never picked up the necessary credentials to be a reserve with the department.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Michael McDaniel, Loop said he didn’t recall if Camm said what make the .380 was, and they did not discuss if it was Camm’s back-up weapon.
After being questioned about an indictment against him in 1989 as a result of a misdemeanor battery charge, Loop said he had “no reason to lie” about his conversation with Camm. “I never had anything but utmost respect” for Camm, Loop said.
As a rule, the Indiana State Police issues its officers a .40-caliber handgun and .380 as a back-up weapon.
On Monday, the beginning of week four of the trial, Sgt. Edward M. Wessel, an ISP firearms examiner, told the jury that it appears the bullets and casings found in the Camm garage and Bronco were fired from a semi-automatic, .380 handgun manufactured by Lorcin. The small caliber handgun, which weighs 27 ounces and is 6-1/2 inches long, is inexpensive. The list price in 1995 was $100.
The murder weapon has not been recovered.
Other testimony on Monday included Verizon employees, who answered questions about a phone call placed from the Camm home at the time the defendant claims he was playing basketball at a nearby church.
Telephone records indicate the call, placed to a business client of Camm’s, which was unanswered, was placed about 7:19 p.m.
The jury spent at least 90 minutes on Tuesday examining Camm’s day planner that was found in his home near the telephone in the kitchen.
Earlier in the day, Damon Lettich, a forensic chemist with the Indiana State Police, testified that fibers from the Camms’ master bedroom carpet were found on a sweatshirt that was collected as evidence. The sweatshirt was found in the garage of the rural Georgetown home, but David Camm has contended the sweatshirt is not his, and he does not know whose it is.
The prosecution spent much of week three presenting evidence to support two possible motives for the killings. One is that Camm wanted to pursue sexual relations with other women. To support that, 11 women were called to the stand Jan. 29 and 30 and asked about advances Camm made and sexual encounters they had with him.
One was Shelley Romero, another ISP trooper. She said she met Camm in 1991.
Romero arrived at the Camm home the night of the murders and spent time trying to console Camm. “We talked for hours that night,” she said, adding that Camm “got extremely agitated as things went on.”
As someone who had first-hand knowledge of Camm’s extramarital affairs, Romero said she asked Camm if he had been seeing anybody who might have committed the crime.
“He looked me in the eye and said, ‘That’s the good about this. I’m not seeing anybody. Things have been going great,’ ” Romero said.
Camm and Romero had five or six phone conversations during the next three days before Camm was arrested on that Sunday evening. Romero said she took Camm to buy a suit to wear to his family’s funerals.
“Half of me was being supportive as a friend,” Romero said, while she was also listening as a police officer to what Camm said.
Another motive suggested by the prosecution is the money Camm could receive through life insurance policies on his wife and children.
Sharon Long, vice president and human resource director at Aegon, where Kimberly Camm worked, noted that Kimberly Camm had more than $49,000 in her 401(k) and that Kimberly had a total of $441,000 of life insurance on herself and two children. David Camm was the beneficiary.
Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith also questioned David Camm’s brother, Daniel, who lives in Florida, about an insurance policy Camm and his wife were rolling over into another policy. During questioning, Daniel Camm answered that he was not licensed to sell insurance in Indiana. Neither was Robert Barber, who wrote the policy change.
The new policy called for $150,000 on Kimberly and $10,000 on each child. (The policy being replaced was $100,000 insurance on Kimberly, $80,000 on David and $5,000 on each child.) David Camm was listed as the primary beneficiary, and his brother was listed as the secondary beneficiary on the new policy.
During cross-examination, Daniel Camm told McDaniel that other family members who live in Indiana have purchased life insurance policies from him.
Jurors heard Thursday from several witnesses to verify “chain of custody,” that evidence collected was properly sealed and secured. That evidence included the clothing Camm was wearing the evening of the murders, the victims’ clothing, shell casings and bullets collected in the Camm garage, scrapings from the garage floor, sexual assault kits done on Kimberly and Jill Camm, fingerprints, and swabbings taken from the Ford Bronco where Camm said he found the bodies of his children.
Also among the evidence were 11 Indiana State Police Suspect Evidence Collection Kits. Ten of those kits were blood or saliva samples taken from women. All but one of those women have already testified about their relationship with Camm. The other kit was taken from a dispatcher at the Sellersburg state police post, whom the prosecution said it does not intend to call as a witness. Defense attorney Michael McDaniel said he plans to call the woman to the stand when he gets to present his case.
At the end of the day Friday, jurors were told by Judge Richard Striegel that they would be allowed to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. “We want you to see the new commercials, too,” he said.
In an attempt to spend more time in the courtroom each day, Judge Striegel said on Monday that the jurors would begin eating lunch at a nearby restaurant rather than traveling back to their hotel. The first day they implemented the plan, court was back in session about 45 minutes sooner than the previous three weeks.
Striegel also announced Monday that about 20 students from Floyd Central High School will attend Thursday morning’s court session, which will further limit the number of the general public admitted to court that day. Posted seating capacity is 93, but Floyd County corrections officers have been limiting the number of people admitted to about 100.