LEBANON - For the past two months, the extraordinary third murder trial of former state trooper David Camm has pitted two of Indiana’s most experienced litigators against each other.
Between them, special prosecutor Stan Levco and court-appointed public defender Richard Kammen have spent nearly eight decades in courtrooms, involved in a multitude of high-profile cases ranging from public corruption to terrorism.
That experience has proven invaluable, given the challenges that the Camm case presents: An error-filled investigation of a triple murder 13 years ago, two previous convictions overturned, appeals court rulings that bar the jury from hearing evidence of a motive, and contradictory testimony from forensic experts and other witnesses.
Presiding over the trial in Boone County is special judge Jonathan Dartt of Spencer County, who also has experience with high-profile cases. As a prosecutor, he argued successfully for the death penalty in a 2001 rape and murder case where the victim was a 15-year-old girl.
“Here you have a very complicated and difficult trial,” said retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, who knows Levco, Kammen and Dartt well. “I’d say its good fortune that such able people are all in the same room together to try to help the jury find their way to justice.”
Previous juries have tried. Camm has twice been convicted of the September 2000 slayings of his wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Bradley, 7, and Jill, 5, in the garage of their Floyd County home.
But both convictions were overturned. Each in case, the appeals courts found that testimony about Camm’s alleged motives – his extra-marital affairs in the first trial and evidence that his daughter had been sexually molested in the second trial -- shouldn’t have been heard by the juries because it wasn’t connected by the prosecution to the murders.