(LEBANON) - The third murder trial of David Camm, a former Indiana State Police officer accused of killing his wife and two children in 2000, got underway Monday in Boone County with jury selection, which could take a week or longer.
Tim Evans reports that the trial was moved to Boone County because of extensive publicity about the case in Floyd County, where the killings occurred, and other parts of Southern Indiana.
Camm, who left the State Police several months before his wife, son and daughter were shot to death in September 2000, has twice been convicted of murder, but both verdicts were overturned on appeal.
Attorneys for the state and Camm, as well as Spencer Circuit Judge Jon Dartt, called 20 prospective jurors for interviews Monday; more small groups will be called in the coming days.
Initial questioning was intended to weed out prospects who already had formed opinions on the case or had other conflicts that would prevent them from serving on the jury. Dartt estimated that a trial could run six to 10 weeks.
Dartt asked prospective jurors individually whether they had any opinions on the case, which has garnered widespread attention in Indiana and outside the state, including coverage by television shows such as "48 Hours." The judge also asked whether they had any personal interests in the case and whether it would be a hardship for them to serve for up to 10 weeks.
Attorneys for the state, special prosecutor Stanley Levco and Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer, then asked more detailed questions of the prospects. Could they set aside any biases they might have because Camm has been convicted twice before, the prosecutors asked, and could they return a verdict based solely on the evidence presented in the courtroom at this trial?
Richard Kammen, Camm's lead attorney, then asked prospects a series of similar questions. Had they read or seen anything on TV or the Internet about the case? Would the prior convictions, even though overturned, affect their feelings about Camm's innocence or guilt? Can a person who has been in jail for 13 years really be innocent? Is it possible for law enforcement to make mistakes?
Potential jurors who made the first cut were ordered to return to the courthouse Friday morning, when the final jury selection process could begin. Dartt admonished those who will be called back not to read, watch or listen to media accounts of the case and trial. He also told them that they were not to research or talk to anyone about the case.
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