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Defense Blames Special Effects Technician for Movie Deaths

May 6, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An attorney for one of the defendants in the ″Twilight Zone″ manslaughter trial sought to blame a special effects technician for the deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two children.

Arnold Klein, attorney for special effects coordinator Paul Stewart, suggested to jurors that the man who caused a helicopter to crash on top of the victims was not Stewart but James Camomile, a technician who was given immunity from prosecution for his testimony.

″I’m not crucifying Jim Camomile,″ Klein said Tuesday. ″But if we are to examine this case intelligently we have to determine what Jim Camomile did.″

Eugene Trope, the attorney for the helicopter pilot, was scheduled to address jurors next. With two more defense attorneys and the prosecutor still to speak, attorneys estimated the case would not go to the jury until next week.

Restating a theory which has echoed throughout the defense in the nine- month trial, Klein said Camomile failed to keep his eye on a hovering helicopter and detonated explosives faster than he had been instructed to by Stewart. These blasts, he contended, knocked the helicopter out of the sky.

″Paul Stewart cannot be held responsible for the actions of Jim Camomile,″ Klein told jurors. ″There is nothing Paul Stewart did that is criminally negligent and there is nothing Paul Stewart did that led to the deaths of these three people.″

Morrow, 53, was killed along with Myca Dinh Le, 7, and Renee Chen, 6, when the helicopter fell on top of them during filming July 23, 1982.

Stewart is charged with involuntary manslaughter along with director John Landis, associate producer George Folsey Jr., production manager Dan Allingham and pilot Dorcey Wingo.

Klein focused primarily on Camomile, who admitted on the witness stand that he didn’t watch the helicopter’s flight path because his attention was focused on Morrow slogging through water with a child under each arm..

He denied that he was responsible for the deaths.

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