Book deal gets prosecutor replaced in murder trial

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WHAS11.com

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 12:11 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered a special prosecutor appointed for the third trial of an ex-state trooper accused of killing his family, saying the current prosecutor's plan to write a book about the case created an "irreversible" conflict of interest.

The three-judge panel ruled Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson's 2009 book deal created a conflict of interest, even though the deal has since been dropped.

David Camm had requested Henderson be removed from the case before his third murder trial, but Special Judge Jonathan Dartt declined, saying cancellation of the contract removed any conflict of interest.

Court documents say Henderson backed out of the deal after Camm's second conviction was overturned, recognizing that he might be removed as prosecutor if the book came out before the third trial was completed. However, he told his agent in an e-mail that he remained committed to writing the book.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the "prosecutor's literary contract created an irreversible, actual conflict of interest with his duty to the people of the state of Indiana."

"As a result of having signed the literary contract, Henderson has provided Camm with a defense strategy that he would not otherwise have," Judge John G. Baker wrote in the 11-page opinion. "Camm may now contend that Henderson's literary contract, albeit cancelled, and his commitment to write a book influenced his decision to prosecute Camm for a third time. Henderson has made himself an issue at trial, and thus cannot continue to serve as prosecutor in this case."

Attorney Stacy Uliana, who has represented Camm for about a decade, said the court had made it clear that prosecutors can't also be authors.

"We're hopeful that we're finally going to get that fair trial that we've been trying to get for the last 11 years," she said.

Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said his office needed to review the decision before deciding whether to appeal.

Corbin said the office had 30 days to petition for a rehearing by the Court of Appeals or for transfer to the state Supreme Court.

Henderson issued a statement Tuesday saying that he would review the ruling with Zoeller and address the issue later this week.

Camm remains in prison. He's accused of fatally shooting Kimberly Camm and their children -- 5-year-old Jill and 7-year-old Bradley -- at the family's home near Georgetown in 2000, about four months after he resigned from the state police. Juries have twice convicted Camm on murder charges that were reversed on appeal.    

For more WHAS11 coverage on the David Camm trial, click here.

 

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