Verdict in Parker Trial Expected Next Week

Defendeant takes stand in own defense


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Closing arguments and a verdict in the Brett Parker double murder trial are expected early next week. Brett Parker, the Irmo man accused of killing his wife Tammy Jo Parker, and gambling business associate, Bryan Capnerhurst at the Parkers' Irmo home last April, takes the stand in his own defense.

While on the stand, the defendant looked directly at jurors seveal times as he recalled the events of the day his wife and business associate were shot and killed. He testified that he was downstairs in the restroom when Bryan Capnerhurst arrived at the home, and he told Capnerhurst to "go on upstairs." Parker says as he finished in the restroom, he heard gun shots from upstairs, and when he got upstairs, he saw his wife's feet laying on the floor and that Capnerhurst was holding a gun on him. Capnerhurst, Parker says, ordered him to open the safe in the home. At that moment, Parker says, "I made a decision it was gonna be me or him" and says he shot Bryan Capnerhurst.

Upon cross-examination, prosecutors pressed Brett Parker about him not being a victim, as he claims. On the stand, he and prosecutor, Luck Campbell, became argumentative. Campbell stated that Parker is a salesman (he was employed with a medical supply company) and is capable of "talking his way around things." The Defense questioned Parker for nearly an hour. Cross examination continues.

Early morning testimony

The forensics scientist from Texas who examined the evidence collected at the crime scene, where Tammy Jo Parker and Bryan Capnerhurst were murdered, presents his findings on behalf of the Defense.

Richard Ernest, a forensics lab owner in Fort Worth, TX, who specializes in crimes scenes. gun powder residue, etc., is getting paid $300 per hour to work on the Brett Parker double murder trial. He testified on the stand today that, based on this two-day analysis of physical evidence collected at the crime scene, "it is consistent" with Bryan Capnerhurst having fired the 9MM handgun used to kill Tammy Jo Parker. The Defense has maintained that Capnerhurst, a gambling associate of Brett Parker, went to Parker's house in April, 2012, to collect $20,000 Parker owed him. When it appeared Capnerhurst was not going to get paid, defense attorneys say Capnerhurst, who, based on court testimony, was drowning in debt, shot and killed Tammy Jo Parker and that Brett Parker shot and killed Capnerhurst in self defense.

Upon cross examination by the State, prosecutors pointed out that Ernest himself is not the one who actually does gun powder residue analysis, but that he consults with others who perform those tasks. The prosecution also implied that Ernest would offer the testimony he did because he was getting paid $300 per hour.

The next person the Defense called to the stand was Robert Bowers, a 44-year-old Chapin native who has been friends with Brett Parker for more than 28 years. Bowers stated that in all his years of knowing Parker, he has never known the defendant to be violent or have a temper or start a fight. He stated that if Parker killed anyone, it was to "protect his home" but a murderer he was not.

Closing arguments and a verdict are expected next week.
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