Ex-lover Testifies, State Rests Case

Close friend of victim admits extra-marital affair


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- The State rests its case in the Brett Parker double murder trial. This, after it was revealed that Ben Staples, close family friend of Brett and Tammy Jo Parker, once had an adulterous affair with Tammy Jo.

Staples, a certified public accountant (CPA) admitted to having an extra-marital afffair with Tammy Jo Parker that lasted for more than a year. Based on court testimony, he advised the Parkers, specifically Tammy Jo, on financial matters. Staples claims he is the one who suggested Tammy Jo Parker remove Brett Parker as beneficiary of her life insurance policy based on mounting gambling debt Brett Parker had accrued. Upon cross examination, defense attorney, David Fedor accused Staples of having a bias toward Brett Parker. Fedor also pointed out that less than 10 days after the murders, Brett Parker met with a representative from MetLife to arrange having Tammy Jo's life insurance policy money transferred into trust accounts for the Parkers' two children and that he did not want it for himself.

Late morning testimony

Secret Service Agent Pat Pruitt, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, close friend to Tammy Jo Parker, Ben Staples, and lead investigator Major Stan Smith take the stand in the Brett Parker double murder trial with what will reportedly be explosive testimony.

Mid-morning testimony

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was the first witness to take the stand today in the Brett Parker double murder trial. Lott stated he had several conversations with Parker, at Parker's request, in the days after the murders. Lott said based on evidence, he felt the defendant's story didn't match, stating it was like 'trying to fit a square peg into a round hole." Lott believes Parker killed his wife Tammy Jo Parker and business associate, Bryan Capnerhurst.

Upon cross examination, defense attorney, David Fedor, pointed out that Lott himself never processed the crime scene and, therefore, could not testify to what evidence was found there. He also stated to Lott that even though Brett Parker cheated on his wife, that doesn't make him a murderer. Fedor noted that one of the Defense's experts will prove that Parker never knew about the $1million life insurance policy on Tammy Jo Parker. Brett Parker is accused of killing her to cash in on that policy to pay off mounting gambling debt.

Special agent for the U.S. Secret Service, Pat Pruitt testified to examining the computer of Bryan Capnerhurst. He said he did not find any evidence of Parker gambling but that he was a record-keeper for Brett Parker. He also said that while other bookies who got wind of the investigation starting cleaning out their computers, there was nothing to indicate Capnerhurst had done so. It's been maintained in court by the Defense that Capnerhurst killed Tammy Jo Parker in an angry rage when he went to the Parkers' Irmo home to collect money Brett Parker owed him.

Close friend of Tammy Jo Parker, Ben Staples, is preparing to testify next, as well as lead crime scene investigator with the Richland County Sheriff's Department, Major Stan Smith.

Early morning testimony--

Pruitt will testify to analysis done on the computer of Bryan Capnerhurst. Sheriff Lott is expected to speak to detailed conversations he had with defendant, Brett Parker. Staples will speak to the financial status of Tammy Jo Parker and what he did to protect her assets. Maj. Stan Smith is the Prosecution's silver bullet, as he will bring together all evidence presented to the jury.

Late this afternoon the Prosecution rested its case. The Defense is expected to begin calling witnesses Thursday morning.

Brett Parker is on trial, accused of killing wife Tammy Jo Parker and business associate, Bryan Capnerhurst at the Parkers' Irmo home in April 2012. Prosecutors claim Brett Parker was a cheating husband who had mounting gambling debt and that he killed his wife to cash in on her $1million life insurance policy; they allege he killed Bryan Capnerhurst to frame him for the crimes. Defense lawyers contend Brett Parker shot and killed Bryan Capnerhurst in self defense, after Capnerhurst shot and killed Tammy Jo Parker. Capnerhurst, an administrative gambling assistant to Parker, had gone to the Parker home to collect some $21,000 Brett Parker owed him.
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