The trial of James Carver is set to start in Highland County Common Pleas Court Monday, and Judge Rocky Coss told The Times-Gazette that jury selection will begin at 8:30 a.m.
He said he is requiring the attorneys to be in his courtroom by 8 a.m. to attend to any preliminary matters, and that in the 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. time frame jury selection would begin.
“I’m optimistic that we can get a jury by noon, maybe 12:15,” he said. “Then we’ll get opening statements and get some evidence in on Monday.”
He said he’s anticipating a jury to be selected from a pool of 50 to 55 individuals.
The court will not be in session Tuesday morning, he said — due to a prior commitment where Highland County prosecutor Anneka Collins will be arguing a case before the Ohio Supreme Court — but should reconvene at 1:15 p.m. to hear testimony.
James Edward Carver, 40, New Vienna, is facing a six-count indictment that includes murder, rape and illegally possessing a firearm, namely the .22-caliber Ruger pistol he is alleged to have used in the murder of Heather Lynn Camp, 33, Sabina.
In the indictment, which was returned by the Highland County grand jury on Apr. 2, 2019, Carver is charged with:
• Count One: Murder, in that on or about Feb. 17, 2019 that he purposely caused the death of Heather Lynn Camp.
• Count Two: That on that same date, Carver did “have a firearm on or about his person or under his control” while committing the offense of murder, and used it to facilitate the offense.
• Count Three: That on that same date did engage in sexual contact with Camp, knowing that her ability to resist or consent was “substantially impaired.”
• Count Four: Illegal possession of a firearm, due to prior convictions of domestic violence in both the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court.
• Count Five: Domestic violence is alleged against Carver, and in the bill of particulars from Highland County Common Pleas Court dated April 29, 2019, it is stated that Camp had the appearance of “physical injuries of being beaten.” Carver already had two prior convictions of domestic violence, the first on Feb. 13, 2001 in Clinton County Municipal Court and the second in Clinton County Common Pleas Court on March 29, 2007.
• Count Six: This count alleges that from Feb. 17-21, 2019, in both Highland and Montgomery County, that Carver “did alter, destroy, conceal or remove a thing with the purpose to impair its value or availability as evidence” while on the run from law enforcement.
Carver was captured by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Taskforce at a residence on E. Third St. in Dayton on Feb. 21, 2019 and, according to court documents, attempted to make a getaway despite the vehicle being surrounded by law enforcement.
In the bill of particulars, during a post-arrest interview, Carver admitted he shot Camp, but said it was accidental and that he intended to just point the gun at her to scare her. He also admitted to hitting her several times prior to the shooting, and that he had sexual intercourse with her after shooting her.
The BP states that an autopsy on Camp showed that she died from a gunshot wound at close range, with the bullet entering the diaphragm, liver, esophagus, thoracic aorta and thoracic spine. The autopsy also disclosed scattered bruising and abrasions to the head, chest and extremities.
Coss stated that he anticipates the final presentation of witnesses and evidence, and closing arguments, will occur on Wednesday or Thursday, with the case then going to the jury.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571