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Last updated on Saturday, August 31, 2013
(LEBANON) - Three weeks before Kim Camm, her seven-year-old son Bradley, and her five-year-old daughter Jill found shot to death, she phoned her best friend Marcy McLeod for their monthly chat. Their call would last twice as long as usual.
"It was markedly different from other conversations," McLeod told a Boone County jury Thursday morning. "She was pre-occupied. She didn't seem her normal self."
Camm's demeanor left her so concerned, McLeod testified, that she called a number of friends and members of Camm's family right after she and Kim hung up. But McLeod couldn't tell the jury what Kim told her. Had David Camm's lawyers gotten their way, McLeod wouldn't have testified at all.
"The problem in (Camm's) last trial was inferences made about what was said," defense attorney Stacey Uliana argued prior to the jury hearing McLeod's testimony. "That's what the appellate court found wrong."
Camm is facing his third trial for the murders of his wife and their children in their Georgetown, IN home on September 28, 2000. His two previous convictions were overturned on appeal.
Uliana and co-counsel Richard Kammen claim that allowing McLeod's testimony again would open the door to admitting hearsay and violate Indiana's rules of evidence.
"I'm not going to ask (McLeod) what she expected (Kim Camm) to do," special prosecutor Stan Levco told the court.
"The substance of the call is out," Special Judge Jon Dartt ruled.
Later, Dartt told jurors he couldn't allow them to ask McLeod one of their questions, citing rules of evidence. He also may not allow them to hear testimony regarding certain insurance policies Kim Camm carried in addition to the benefits her employer offered.
In opening arguments, prosecutors alleged that insurance money could have given David Camm a motive for murder. David Camm stood to collect $150,000 from one policy that he and his wife bought through a Florida representative about six weeks before her murder, agent Robert Barber told jurors Thursday.
The two variable life policies the Camms carried on each other raised the death benefits on each child to $10,000 apiece. David Camm's policy would have paid his wife $350,000 had she survived him.
"She (Kim) was adamant about getting life insurance on her husband," Barber said.
The defense team maintains that the upgrades coincided with Camm's departure from the Indiana State Police, and offered a payout seven times higher than the coverage he carried as a trooper.
Barber testified the variable life policies also created retirement accounts, allowing the Camms to increase the potential payout by investing portions of the premiums in mutual funds.
"I know Mrs. Camm to be a savvy investor and insurance purchaser," said Barber, "and she kind of knew what she wanted."
"It was to pay for their children's education (in the event both parents died)," Kammen told the jury.
However, Barber said the Camms had to claim the Florida address of his brother, financial planner and accountant Daniel "Danny" Camm, to qualify. Barber said an underwriter had rejected the first application as the insurer wasn't authorized to write policies for out-of-state residents.
Barber said Danny Camm not only arranged the upgrade he was the secondary beneficiary for both policies, replacing a family trust.
Jurors wanted to know whether Kim and David Camm had drafted wills, and appointed Danny Camm as executor, custodian, or to their children. Barber said he didn't know.
Barber also conceded that it he didn't see Kim Camm sign the policy application, although his own signature indicates he had.
"I felt comfortable doing it with the conversations I had with her," Barber testified.
However, Barber told prosecutors that he was unaware that Kim Camm had carried yet another policy through another insurer, Midwestern Life.
"She had $50,000 on her children," prosecutor Todd Meyer told him.
The claim drew defense objections, alleging that prosecutors had misrepresented the coverage amounts and the policy.
"(Kim Camm) was canceling that other policy - what she and David were buying was replacing that," Kammen told Judge Dartt before the jury returned from lunch recess. "The jury thinks the policy is out there, and doesn't know the truth."
But prosecutors maintain the additional policy was still in force, and payable, at the time of the murders.
Judge Dartt put the dispute on hold until after the Labor Day recess, telling both sides to draft motions as to why he should or shouldn't ask a Midwestern Life representative to testify regarding the policy status.
The exchange left jurors little more than thirty minutes to hear from the day's two remaining witnesses, including Lynn Scamahorne, the state police technician who tested David Camm's t-shirt for DNA and blood.
Prosecutors claim that nine dots represent High Velocity Impact Spatter; proof that Camm shot his children at such close range that their blood marked his shirt. During testimony on Wednesday, Scamahorne told jurors that testing in 2000 and 2005 had confirmed that eight dots were blood droplets from his son Bradley and daughter Jill.
Under defense questioning Thursday, Scamahorne testified that investigators from the Floyd County Prosecutor's office already had marked the dots when she received the shirt, and that only four dots remained when experts from the defense and prosecution came to examine them before Camm's first trial. Scamahorne said the others 'had been consumed' in the first round of testing.
Jurors spent more than 90 minutes Thursday morning reviewing physical evidence and Scamahorne's findings. But they must wait four more days before Camm's attorneys finish cross-examination, so that they may pose their own questions.
Testimony resumes on Tuesday, September 3.
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