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‘Expert’ says Camm in Bronco when family was killed

An expert witness who claims blood could only have gotten on David R. Camm’s T-shirt if he were present when his daughter was shot and killed spent yesterday morning defending his credentials as week six of the triple-murder trial resumed in New Albany.
Camm, 37, a former Indiana State Police trooper, is charged with the murders of his daughter, Jill, 5, son, Bradley, 7, and wife, Kimberly, 35. Camm has claimed that he found the three victims in the garage of the couple’s rural Georgetown home on Sept. 28, 2000, after he had been playing basketball at a Georgetown church.
Rod Englert of Portland, Ore., a crime scene reconstructionist and blood pattern analyst for 39 years, spent Friday listing his credentials and answering questions from Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith. Englert used stage blood to demonstrate for the jury different types of blood spatter: low velocity, medium velocity, and high velocity. He used a wig, cloth and club to show what various blood smears look like.
“Blood tells a story,” said Englert, who was involved in several high-profile murder cases, including O.J. Simpson, Hispanic singer Selena, and the Buddhist Temple in Phoenix.
Englert said a “mist or spray” returns to the shooter’s hand, up to four feet away, when there’s high velocity spatter, which experts, including Englert, say they found on the T-shirt Camm was wearing the night of the murders.
Based on his inspection of the Ford Bronco, where the bodies of Camm’s children were found, Englert said there were several blood transfer stains, as well as some high-velocity impact spatter, inside the vehicle.
Englert believes Kimberly Camm was shot as she was standing in the area of the open, passenger door of the Bronco. Her pants were found laying next to her head, but Englert said the pants were placed there after she had been shot. He also said the blood around her body had been stepped in.
The prosecution provided photographs of the defendant’s tennis shoes, which had blood on them. Englert said the blood had been “wiped away.”
An earlier witness testified that no blood, or any other items for that matter, were found on the soles of Camm’s shoes.
When discussing where the children were located when they were shot, Englert said that Jill’s injuries were consistent with her being belted in the rear passenger seat.
“Someone was in that area behind the seat, pushing it forward” when they shot her, Englert said. High velocity blood spatter was found on the Bronco’s rollbar located above Jill’s head, he said.
In response to questions by Faith, Englert said it was his opinion that “the T-shirt was there at the moment when the ‘blow back’ (blood spatter) occurred.”
Bradley’s blood was found on the wheelwell behind the back seat where he was. Englert said the boy’s body would have been laying over the back seat, as if he were trying to escape from his attacker.
Defense attorney Mike McDaniel questioned Englert early Tuesday morning. (There was no court Monday due to the President’s Day holiday.) During cross-examination, Englert said he had not taken any “hard science” college-level classes, and that he had dropped out of some classes.
“My grades were terrible in college, especially in math,” Englert said.
Englert said he prefers to be introduced as a reconstructionist and blood stain pattern analyst even though both titles come under the umbrella of a forensic scientist.
During questioning about his certifications, Englert told McDaniel that he should have said he has qualifications to be called a reconstructionist rather than having certification in that field.
Englert and an associate, Robert Stites, who testified the last day of Week One of the trial, has submitted bills to the prosecutor’s office totaling $113,000 through the end of October for about 350 hours of work on this case. Englert said yesterday that there’s a “substantial” amount more to be billed for time since then.
Before breaking for lunch yesterday, McDaniel questioned Englert about a telephone conversation he had with Stites about the T-shirt before Camm’s arrest on Oct. 1, 2000.
Englert said Stites “under-summarized” how Englert determined blood on the T-shirt was high velocity impact spatter based on the phone conversation.
Englert said the two men “conferred” about the blood Stites said was on the shirt, but Englert did not decide it was high velocity in nature until after he examined the shirt himself.
Englert also said there are “no absolutes” when doing reconstruction work; that the experts can only draw inferences.
Two other “expert” witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution last week.
William L. Chapin, who works at McChrone Associates near Chicago, testified last Tuesday, Feb. 12, about testing McChrone did on Camm’s T-shirt. Chapin didn’t return to the stand in the afternoon, as McDaniel had objected to Faith’s line of questioning.
Floyd Superior Judge Richard Striegel overruled McDaniel’s objections the next morning, and Chapin continued his testimony.
That testimony centered on a minute particle found embedded in Camm’s T-shirt. Chapin said the particle was initially reported as a mineral or stone, but testing at McChrone revealed that the particle consisted of protein with a little bit of carbohydrate material. The particle was “wrapped around” a fiber of the shirt, he said. “It had to have some moisture to it in order to do this.”
Following Chapin on the stand was another McChrone employee, senior research scientist Wayne D. Niemeyer. His testimony focused on gunshot residue, which, he said, can last on a shooter’s hand up to eight hours, under “normal” activity.
Niemeyer talked about the amount of residue expelled from different types of weapons, including revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. He said the smaller the caliber of weapon, the less residue there is.
A study of a “tape lift” done at McChrone on the T-shirt revealed no signs of gunshot residue particles, Niemeyer said.
A considerably large amount of brass particles were found on the exterior of the gym shorts Camm was wearing when he found his family. Brass particles were also found in the pockets of the gym shorts.
Niemeyer said the “irregular shapes looked like wear particles” that could be consistent with particles dispersed from loading bullets into a magazine clip.
During cross-examination, Niemeyer said he could not say for sure that the particles came from brass shell casings and that the brass particles could have come from any of several items made from brass, which “is very common.”
The prosecution was expected to rest its case yesterday afternoon. McDaniel is expected to take up to two weeks with his witnesses.
Judge Striegel has made arrangements for a closed-circuit telecast of the trial when Camm testifies, which he is expected to do, and during closing arguments.