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CAMM GUILTY

CAMM GUILTY
CAMM GUILTY
Kimberly Camm's sister, Debbie Karem, and their parents, Frank and Janice Renn, talk with reporters late Sunday night after a jury found David R. Camm guilty of murdering his wife and two children. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

After 2-1/2 days of deliberation, a jury returned three guilty verdicts in the murder trial of David R. Camm, 37, the former Indiana State Police trooper charged with killing his wife and two children on Sept. 28, 2000, at their rural Georgetown home.
Floyd Superior Court Judge Richard Striegel opened the sealed envelope containing the verdicts about 11:35 Sunday night and glanced over them before telling the standing-room-only crowd amidst heightened security that all three counts — one each for Camm’s wife, Kimberly, 35, son, Bradley, 7, and daughter, Jill, 5 — were identical. Camm could receive a maximum of 65 years for each count of murder.
Some family members were already crying before Striegel read the verdict. When the words, “Guilty of murder,” came out of the judge’s mouth, Camm’s sister, Julie Hogue, reacted by shouting, “No, no, no! It’s wrong. You know it’s wrong!”
As Hogue was escorted out of the room by her uncle, Sam Lockhart, and police, Camm’s brother, Donnie, stood and glared at the jurors.
“He was at the game,” he said loudly to them. “You’re a bunch of idiots. You’re wrong!”
He walked out of the courtroom, followed quietly by his dejected- looking father, Donald. Camm’s other brother, Daniel, remained in the courtroom with other family members.
During the outburst and the polling of the jurors, the defendant looked at the jurors and barely shook his head from side to side in apparent disbelief.
Before the jurors were brought in to read the verdict, the judge had instructed everyone how the courtroom would be cleared following the verdict: the general public was to leave the building; the Camm family was to return to the Magistrate Courtroom across the hall, where they had gathered since 2 p.m. Friday when the jury began deliberation, and the Renn family (Kimberly Camm’s parents and other relatives and close friends), in the Commissioners’ Room.
Just before midnight, emergency medical personnel were summoned to the New Albany City-County Building to transport Camm’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage to the hospital. She was taken from the Commissioners’ Room on a stretcher, wearing an oxygen mask and visibly shaking, and placed in a waiting ambulance.
After the courtroom was cleared, the Camm family sent word that they did not wish to talk with the media. But, later, they talked with reporters outside the City-County Building, after some had yelled at the jurors as they boarded vans to go back to their hotel.
The family said the jury had “sent an innocent man to jail,” leaving a “predator” on the loose.
“Judge Striegel and (Floyd County Prosecutor) Stan Faith were on the same team,” said Donnie Camm, claiming that the jurors had heard “lies” about his brother.
Sam Lockhart, who admitted to being “annoyed,” said the jury’s decision was “unbelievable.”
Lockhart, Camm’s uncle, was one of the men who attested to Camm’s alibi that the former state trooper had been at the Georgetown Community Church playing basketball from 7 to 9:22 p.m. the night of the murders.
“He didn’t do the crime,” Lockhart said.
(On Monday, Hogue and Donnie Camm apologized publicly for their harsh words, explaining that they were mentally and physically exhausted from the ordeal.)
The Renn family expressed condolences to Camm’s family before making any statements about the verdict.
“The verdict obviously was what we wanted, but in our hearts we feel for that family,” said Greg Karem, who is married to Kimberly Camm’s sister, Debbie.
“I think we feel a little bit relieved,” said Frank Renn, Kimberly’s father. “We thought it might be a hung jury, but with God’s help they made a decision.”
The possibility of a hung jury came about 4:30 p.m. Sunday when everyone returned to the courtroom. Before leaving the jury room, the jurors’ voices, which sounded loud and somewhat angry, could be heard in the courtroom. Once the jurors were seated in the jury box, the foreman told the judge that the 12 jurors were nowhere near reaching a verdict.
But a poll of the jurors — some of whom had been crying or were still crying — revealed that almost half thought they could reach a unanimous decision if they continued deliberations.
Striegel sent them back with orders to reread the 24 instructions the court had provided for them on Friday.
About 90 minutes later, the jurors left the building for supper. Close to 8:30 p.m., a Floyd County corrections officer was sent to pick up a prescription for a juror.
Faith and his staff were pleased the jury was finally able to reach a verdict, although Faith had indicated he was willing to let them continue deliberating several more days, if that’s what it took.
After the verdict was announced, Faith said Camm “knew he did it.”
The prosecutor also referred to Terry Laber, the defense’s expert, as “a very good witness.”
Faith believes that Laber’s testimony about Jill Camm’s blood on her father’s T-shirt is what helped him get a guilty verdict.
Faith said Jill, Bradley and Kimberly Camm “have been literally present all the time” in spirit in the courtroom during the nine-week trial.
Mike McDaniel of Lanesville, Camm’s attorney, said he was surprised by the guilty verdict.
“It’s almost enough to make you lose faith in the jury system,” he said.
While McDaniel said he had tried the case the best he could, he thought evidence about Camm’s marital infidelities never should have been allowed, because it painted his client as a person of “bad character.”
With plans to appeal the verdict, McDaniel said he “looks forward” to trying the case again in about 18 months, the next time without the “smear” campaign.
Camm was not allowed to spend any time with family members Sunday night before he was taken from the second-floor courtroom downstairs to the jail. The judge thought emotions were too strong at the time, he said.
Camm took communion Saturday night with some of his family, when Corydon’s Gilbert Duley, a chaplain with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., held a prayer service that included the Eucharist.
(The Renn family had participated in a special Mass on Thursday, which would have been Kimberly Camm’s 37th birthday. There was no court that day, as both the defense and prosecution prepared for closing arguments, which took place Friday morning.)
Before leaving the City-County Building early Monday morning, Striegel spoke briefly to the media, saying that the jurors did not want to make any statements before they left the building and returned to their hotel. (Some of the jurors immediately left the hotel for their homes in Johnson County, while the rest of them spent the night before going home.)
“I told (the jurors) thank you very much” for their service, Striegel said.
“Everybody’s glad it’s over,” he added.
Yesterday, Striegel set sentencing for April 9.

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