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Camm defense expert says blood staining inconsistent with spatter

An expert for the defense in the triple murder trial of a former Indiana State Police trooper spent 2-1/2 days providing testimony that contradicted earlier conclusions provided by a witness for the state.
“I believe the blood spatter evidence is consistent with what (the defendant) said he did,” Terry L. Laber, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Forensic Science Lab in St. Paul, said Monday.
The defendant, David R. Camm, 37, was arrested Oct. 1, 2000, and charged with three counts of murder.
Camm claims he returned home from playing basketball on Sept. 28, 2000, and found his wife, Kimberly, 35, shot to death on the garage floor of the couple’s rural Georgetown home. The bodies of Camm’s children — son, Bradley, 7, and daughter, Jill, 5 — were found dead inside the couple’s Ford Bronco, which was parked inside the garage.
Laber, who was to be cross-examined yesterday by Floyd County Prosecutor Stan Faith, reviewed numerous reports from other agencies, dozens of photographs taken at the crime scene and key pieces of evidence. He viewed the Bronco at the Indiana State Police post in Sellersburg and went to another ISP lab in Evansville to examine other evidence.
One piece of evidence Laber spent considerable time discussing during questioning by defense attorney Mike McDaniel was the T-shirt Camm was wearing the night of the murders. Laber said if the killer were in the position suggested by the state, he would expect to find high-velocity impact spatter on the upper area of the T-shirt, but none was found. Instead, blood on the lower portion of the shirt is consistent with contact staining, Laber said. Using the state’s same reasoning, there is no evidence of spatter on the inside of the vehicle where the lower area of the T-shirt would have been, he said.
Based on experiments done with blood and serum separation, Laber estimated the approximate time of death as between 7:30 and 8 p.m. He said he saw no indications that any attempt was made to clean up the crime scene before police arrived.
McDaniel asked Laber how much he was getting paid by the defense, especially in light of how much the state’s main expert, Rod Englert, was charging. Laber said his hourly rate is $150 an hour (or $1,500 per day), which is about half of what Englert charges. (Englert testified that he now charges $350 an hour but is billing the state at $300 an hour.)
Also taking the stand last week was Camm’s uncle, Sam Lockhart, who hired Camm to work full-time after he left the state police. Lockhart testified about playing basketball the night of the murders, saying he, Lockhart, arrived at the church gym about 7:10 p.m. Lockhart said he played ball “probably after 8” while his nephew sat out. He told Faith that some of the other men who played ball there that night — players included his son, son-in-law and another nephew — were mistaken about their recollection of the number of games played and who sat out when.
While he said he didn’t see Camm every minute that he sat out, Lockhart said he never saw Camm leave or come back in the gym. “I never heard anyone else say, ‘Where did David go?’ ”
Lockhart also told the jury how he learned of the murders. He was talking on the phone to his brother, Nelson, who was at their father’s house, across the street from the Camm home.
“I heard a loud screaming noise over the phone,” Lockhart said, “then the phone dropped.”
His brother got back on the phone and told Lockhart to come there, that “something bad had happened to David’s kids.”
Lockhart and his son, Phillip, who had just arrived home from playing basketball, drove to Georgetown. Looking into the Camm garage, Lockhart said he saw the bodies of Bradley and Kimberly, who he initially thought was Jill, laying on the garage floor.
His brother, a former police officer, told him not to go into the garage because “it’s a crime scene.”
After Camm was arrested, Sam Lockhart was given power of attorney and remained active in trying to find out who killed his nephew’s family. During cross-examination, Lockhart said he has spent about $50,000 in legal fees for Camm.
Faith questioned Lockhart about ammunition he provided to the state police. The box of .380 rounds — the same caliber used in the shootings — was full except for seven bullets. Lockhart said he had fired six of them while doing some experiments of his own to see how gunshot sounds travel, and he gave the seventh one to police for testing. Lockhart supplied the court with a receipt, dated from June 1995, for the purchase of the box of ammo.
Asked by Faith if he thought Camm killed his family, Lockhart replied: “I know he didn’t. I know he didn’t kill his wife and kids.”
Last Wednesday morning, Mark Sturgill, a manager with the Lexington, Ky., alarm company used by the church where the men played basketball, provided records for the time the alarm was reset the night of the murders. That time, Sturgill said, was 9:22 p.m.
Sturgill said the alarm company tries to keep its clock set with the Lexington (Ky.) Police Dept.’s clock.
“Sometimes we have to make adjustments,” he said, usually about eight to 10 times a year.
Sturgill said the Lexington Police Dept. and Indiana State Police Post at Sellersburg may not have the exact time.
The defendant is expected to take the stand, possibly today, as the trial, now in its eighth week, continues. Floyd Superior Court Judge Richard Striegel has made arrangements to provide closed-captioning of the trial in another courtroom for the overflow crowd that is expected when Camm testifies.