(CBS News) On any Saturday or Sunday during the season, you can wager almost all eyes in Columbia, S.C., are on football. And without too much trouble, you can wager on any game you want because there is a barely secret, thriving world of illegal sports betting here. Jack Parker and his son were particularly successful at it.
"You are a bookie, correct? "48 Hours" correspondent Richard Schlesinger asked Jack Parker.
"Yeah, I've been doin' it a while, yes, sir," he replied.
"How long have you been doing it?" Schlesinger asked.
"Thirty years," Parker replied.
"I guess it is illegal," Schlesinger commented.
"It's illegal in state, yes, sir," Parker replied.
"So do you feel at all like a criminal?" Schlesinger asked.
"No, sir," said Parker.
Parker taught his son, Brett, the business and the two were known as honest bookies who always paid up. Business was good and the police largely left the town's bookies alone.
"It's not a serious crime where we -- dedicate a team of people to go out and investigate it," said Sheriff Leon Lott.
But the gentlemanly world of the local bookies suddenly had all of Sheriff Lott's attention on April 13, 2012, when Brett Parker's wife and his assistant were shot dead in Brett Parker's quiet, suburban house.
"Everybody watched this case. From day one," Lott said. "…people were drawn to it."
News report: Deputies tell us there's possibly multiple weapons involved… Folks in that community are very concerned … we don't really know if there is a gunman or a gunperson out there right now…
Brett and Tammy Parker seemed closer to high society than the criminal underworld. They didn't really need the money from his bookie business. Brett sold medical supplies when he wasn't taking bets and Tammy made a six-figure salary selling pharmaceuticals.
Angela Rickard knew Tammy was ambitious as far back as high school where Tammy was homecoming queen.
"She was very determined to succeed. And she did. She did exactly what she was driven to do," Rikard said. "… she was no dumb blonde."
And when Tammy married Brett, his mother, Linda, thought it was a great match.
"She and Brett got along real well. They seemed very happy together," Linda Parker said. "She was very athletic. They like the same things as far as sporting events and doing things together. So -- I think they were very compatible."
Their two children, 5-year-old Zack and 13-year-old Brooke, also seemed happy according to Tammy's friend, Angela Leon.
"She was always thinking about the kids," Leon said. "Brooke was very active in cheerleading. Zachary was a typical 4- to 5-year-old boy, um, full of energy. So I think overall she was very happy with the way they were growing up."
The family went on frequent vacations together. Just one week before the killings, Brett narrated home movies of a cruise he and Tammy went on with the kids. Brett's mother, Linda, went along too.
"It was a wonderful experience," Linda said. "…we had a great time. And I even mentioned to Jack when I got back, I said, 'You know, Brett and Tammy were just as happy as I've ever seen 'em. And they enjoyed themselves.'"
News report: 44-year-old Tammy Parker and 46-year-old Bryan Capnerhurst were found dead…
This case got even tougher to figure out when police learned that the second person found dead in the house, Bryan Capnerhurst, was a close friend of the families. He was also friends with Tammy's mother, Libby Carswell.
"I cut his hair for 20 years in my beauty salon," Carswell said. "He was a very nice guy. He really was. … He talked about what a good mother Tammy was. And -- how Brett had it made."
Brett and Tammy's daughter, Brooke, told "48 Hours" she saw Capnerhurst in the Parker's house all the time, taking bets over the phone.
Asked what Capnerhurst was like, Brooke told Schlesinger, "Well, I thought he was sweet. He never seemed, like, mean or anything, and he was always nice to us."
At first glance there was no apparent reason for Capnerhurst to kill Tammy; everybody seemed to like each other. Yet Brett Parker, the last man standing, was telling investigator Stan Smith he heard Bryan Capnerhurst shoot his wife.
"He heard shots from upstairs," Maj. Smith said. "A number of shots. And he ran upstairs and said that Capnerhurst had a gun fixed on him and demanded that he go open the safe."
Brett Parker told police he had to kill his friend, Capnerhurst, or be killed. The chaotic crime scene seemed to support his story.
"And the first body that you'd come across was that of Tammy Parker. And she was in an office area -- and she looked like she'd tried to run –" said Smith.
Capnerhurst's body lay nearby in the attic. He'd been shot four times. Police immediately noticed what was in his hand.
"Our deputies reported that he had been clutching a weapon when they got there. Our two responding officers who checked the bodies actually took the weapon out of -- of Bryan Capnerhurst's hand," Smith continued.
It was a 9mm pistol, the same gun that killed
Tammy Parker. But even with all the evidence that Capnerhurst killed Tammy,
police had to ask Brett Parker the obvious questions.
"We asked about ... affairs or debt and he indicated he was in a happy marriage. That there had been no infidelity," Smith told Schlesinger.
Police also discovered why Capnerhurst had come to the house that day: Brett Parker owed him a lot of money.
"We learned that Bryan had been very concerned about this meeting. He'd been tryin' to set it up for some time. He had been eager to get his money. He'd not been paid in months," Smith explained.
"How much money was owed to him?" Schlesinger asked.
"About $21.3 was actually owed him –" Smith replied.
"$21,300?" Schlesinger asked.
"Right," Smith affirmed.
Brett Parker answered all the questions and police released him that same evening.
"We took his story down at face value and he gave us a written statement to that effect," said Smith.
"Well, there's no reason to doubt him," Schlesinger commented.
"But there's a reason to check the veracity of his story," said Smith.
Brett Parker now had to tell his kids their mother was dead. He did it with the help of his parents.
"I remember when he told Brooke, and Zack was just 5 at the time. … I had him on my lap and he got up off my lap and he went out and started kickin' rocks," Jack Parker recalled, tearing up. "Somewhere along the line he was back in my lap. I remember talkin' to him and he said that 'Mommy's at the doctor's.' That's what he said. I didn't tell him any different. I couldn't."
After Brett told his kids, a police officer talked to Brooke about what happened.
"He said to Brooke, 'Had he not shot Bryan, Bryan probably would have shot him.' Now that's the exact words he told Brooke," said Linda Parker.
"They said self-defense, and to protect the family, so he didn't die," said Brooke.
"What did you think of that?" Schlesinger asked Brooke.
"It scared me," she said.
It looked like this case would be closed soon, with compelling evidence showing it was Bryan Capnerhurst who shot Tammy and was then shot by Parker in self-defense. But within about 24 hours, police had a new theory ... and this one was much more sinister.
A NEW THEORY
911 Operator: Calm down for me, I need to know what happened, OK? Who shot your wife?
Brett Parker: A friend of mine, Bryan!
"I've said from
the very beginning it was a robbery gone bad," said Dave Fedor, who has
been called a legend in Columbia, S.C., where he's been a lawyer for more than
Ten days after the killings, Fedor got a call from the Parkers asking for advice as police continued to investigate. He began looking into Bryan Capnerhurst.
"So let's talk about Mr. Capnerhurst," Schlesinger said to Fedor. "What was his financial situation?"
"Bad. He owed about $25,000. He was just working -- not making much money," Fedor replied.
Capnerhurst worked three jobs, but never seemed to make ends meet. It was a constant scramble to pay the bills.
"It was not good. He owed his father-in-law money. He was looking for a big payday," said Fedor.
He was hoping payday would be that day -- Friday the 13th -- when he went to the Parker's home hoping to get $21,000 he said Brett owed him from the bookie business. Before he went, he called Brett's father, Jack.
"He just said he was goin'-- meetin' Brett, I forgot what time, 12:00, 1:00, something like that," said Jack Parker.
Asked if Capnerhurst seemed mad at Brett, Jack told Schlesinger, "Not really. It was more -- I think [Capnerhurst was] more mad at his [own] wife than he was at anybody."
"For what?" Schlesinger asked.
"He said his wife had run up the credit bill so bad that he couldn't borrow $10," Jack replied. "He said he couldn't get anything. His credit card was maxed out."
Fedor thinks Capnerhurst believed the answer to all his problems lay inside Brett Parker's safe in the attic.
"The police investigation revealed that Capnerhurst and his wife had been talking the previous few days about $80,000 to $100,000 being in the safe," said Fedor.
Asked how much money was actually in the safe, Fedor told Schlesinger," Couple hundred dollars."
The amount was a fraction of the $21,000 Capnerhurst thought he was owed.
"He was gonna put his foot down. He was gonna -- he was tired of the -- excuses. He wanted the money that he was owed," said Smith.
"People do snap, especially if they're in debt or if they're … owed a lot of money," Schlesinger reasoned.
"They can," said Smith.
Brett told Capnerhurst to come over at 12:30 that Friday and home security cameras show he was right on time. He was carrying a duffle bag that Brett told him to bring to carry the money. The surveillance video shows Capnerhurst flung that bag over his shoulder – this will become critically important. Brett told Fedor what happened next.
"Capnerhurst came in the side door. Brett, in the bathroom, told him to go on upstairs. He'd see him up in the office. A minute or two later, Brett hears gunshots. He comes out of the bathroom, goes upstairs. Capnerhurst is standing at the stairwell with a pistol," Fedor said. "He orders Brett Parker upstairs, back to the area where the safe is. Brett sees his wife lying on the floor … And the guy orders him to open the safe. Brett has on top of the safe, under a blanket, a pistol. … Grabs the pistol, spins around, and shoots many times at Capnerhurst. Kills Capnerhurst. … He runs out past him, checks his wife. And naturally, he's hysterical."
911 Operator: I completely understand that you are very upset.
Brett Parker: It's a f-----g nightmare (crying).
South Carolina is one of 33 states with a form of what's called a "stand your ground" law -- the kind of law that was widely discussed in Florida's George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.
"Is this a case in your mind where Brett Parker was standing his ground?" Schlesinger asked Fedor.
"Absolutely. If someone has a pistol pointed at your head, orders you up the stairs and you have to go to a safe, I think your life's a little bit in danger. If wouldn't have taken me five seconds to pull a pistol and shoot him," he replied.
Investigators did find lots of gun powder residue at the crime scene, much of it on Bryan Capnerhurst.
"Gunpowder residue comes from the firing of a firearm. And it comes out in a cloud fashion," Smith explained.
"And was he covered with the residue?" Schlesinger asked.
"It was all over his hands, yes," Smith replied.
The gun powder residue showed that Capnerhurst could have fired the 9mm pistol that killed Tammy Parker. And Brett Parker told investigators he gave that gun to Capnerhurst for his protection just one month before the shootings.
"He told us when he gave him the gun he gave him the box of shells and the empty magazine," said Smith.
Brett Parker 911 call: I gave him the f-----g gun about a month ago. My f-----g fault I guess.
But this case was not going to be that simple. The day after the killings, Dr. Bradley Marcus performed his autopsy on Bryan Capnerhurst. And what he found, he says, shows the killings could not have happened the way Brett Parker said.
"We opened the body bag and … he had a significant injury to his left arm," Dr. Marcus explained. "The bone was broken. There was just a gaping hole in his arm so a significant number of those muscles were damaged. … That was the most important wound that -- Mr. Capnerhurst received."Asked why, Dr. Marcus told Schlesinger, "He would not have been able to have a gun in his hand at that -- with that type of injury there."
Dr. Marcus believes Capnerhurst would have dropped the gun as soon as he was shot in the arm. So suspicion started to turn toward Brett Parker -- the only person to walk out of that house alive. And now Jack Parker needed to be sure his son was not a killer.
"I took him in my bedroom with my wife. And I drilled him like a drill sergeant," Jack Parker told Schlesinger. "I got in his face. I pounded him on his chest. I said, 'Goddamn it, if you did this, you 'fess up to it. Don't put us through a trial. Don't put me, your mother, your kids through a trial.' And he -- he said, 'Dad, I promise you.' Tears comin' out. He said, 'I did not do this.'"
"Was there any scintilla of doubt in your mind when he looked you in the eye and said, 'Dad, I did not do this,' that he was telling you the truth?" Schlesinger asked.
"No, sir," Jack Parker replied.
But to police, Bryan Capnerhurst was starting to look more like a victim than a killer and this was now a different kind of case entirely.
"By that time some red flags had begun to arise," Smith told Schlesinger, "and I had some serious doubts about Brett Parker's story. And I remember making a commitment to Tammy Jo Parker then that I would do her justice and get to the bottom of this and determine what the truth was."
THE STATE BUILDS ITS CASE
Investigator Stan Smith and the rest of the Richland County, S.C. Sheriff's Department weren't buying Brett Parker's story about how his wife was killed by his friend, Bryan Capnerhurst.
Evidence pointed to Brett Parker as the killer, but investigators needed more to make an arrest. They had spent hours watching the video from Brett's home security cameras. And then, 43 days after the killings, detectives saw something in a flash.
"My lieutenant began to continue to study the camera from what we would think would be an irrelevant angle … he discovered the blinds bein' moved," said Maj. Smith.
A split-second flash seen on the video and it might be the key to solving this case.
The surveillance camera was trained on an outside door of the Parker's house, but police needed to know what was going on on the other side of the door, inside the house. They believe that the flash was caused by someone opening the blinds to peer through them for two seconds. Police were in luck because the surveillance camera had a time stamp. So they knew these blinds opened at 24 minutes past 12:00. That's seven minutes before Bryan Capnerhurst was seen arriving. Then the question was: who was standing there? It had to be either Tammy or Brett Parker.
"We then immediately got a search warrant, went back, tested the blinds," said Smith.
The police tested for gun powder residue.
"And lo and behold the results came back that there was small, round, lead particles on the blinds, which is consistent with gunpowder residue," Smith explained. "That meant somebody had fired a gun and looked out those blinds."
There was no evidence that Tammy had fired a gun, so police concluded it was Brett looking outside. And by now they thought they knew why.
"We … had theorized at that point that he had killed Tammy Parker. He was anxiously awaiting Bryan Capnerhurst's arrival," Smith said. "… this guy's gotta show up, 'cause if this guy doesn't show up, he's got a problem."
They believe Brett Parker had lied from day one. They think Brett killed Tammy, then shot Bryan Capnerhurst and placed that gun in his hand to make it look like Bryan murdered Tammy and threatened to kill Brett.
"And as he had peeked out the driveway he opened the blinds before that and -- and he had gunpowder on his hands," said Smith.
"How important was that evidence?" Schlesinger asked.
"It was important physical evidence," said Smith, "it pushed the ball well over the goal line. It was pretty significant."
But weeks had elapsed since the killings, and Dave Fedor, Parker's attorney, did not consider the gunpowder residue significant.
"Forty-three days later, and after 80 to 100 police officers were in there tromping all around," Fedor said. "It could've gotten there anyway."
"How much value is that evidence, do you believe?" Schlesinger asked Fedor.
"Worthless," he replied.
But police say the case against Brett Parker was coming together. And they say they found evidence in the strangest place -- the bathroom Parker said he was using when Capnerhurst arrived. Suffice it to say, given what Parker said he was doing, they thought the toilet seat was in the wrong position.
"How unusual would it be for the toilet seat to be up" Schlesinger asked Smith.
"I just don't believe that's normal protocol for a male -- to raise the toilet seat after he – "
" -- uses the toilet seat," said Schlesinger.
"Yes. In the way that he needed to use the toilet seat," said Smith.
There were more clues from Parker's home surveillance system. Remember how Capnerhurst flung his bag over his shoulder? Stan Smith thought it was odd that a box of bullets used in the shooting was found so easily inside the bag.
"The way we found the magazine and the bullets, they were right on top. And we immediately realized if you throw that over your shoulder, that's gonna be mixed up down in the corner of the bottom of the bag. They were on top as if they'd been placed there," Smith explained.
Police examined that box of ammunition.
"We ultimately processed it and got Brett Parker's thumbprint off of it," said Smith.
"What about Mr. Capnerhurst?" Schlesinger asked.
"No. No DNA. No fingerprint. But Brett Parker's thumbprint," said Smith.
Brett Parker stopped talking to investigators, but he started talking to their boss -- one of the most powerful men in the county, Sheriff Leon Lott. Brett's father, Jack, knew the sheriff and asked him to meet with his son.
"What was on Brett's mind, in your view, when he decided to go talk to the sheriff?" Schlesinger asked Jack Parker.
"He wanted to clear himself. And why not go to the top?" he replied.
"I've never had a so-called alleged criminal go talk to the sheriff. Now that's a new game in my repertoire," said Fedor.
"What does that show you?" Schlesinger asked.
"It shows me he was -- stone innocent," Fedor replied.
Sheriff Lott agreed to meet Brett.
"He felt like if he could convince me, then -- and if I believed him -- then he wouldn't be charged," Lott explained. "I felt like, you know, after a while, that he was just tryin' to con me."
"He was tryin' to con you?" Schlesinger asked Lott.
"He was tryin' to con me," the sheriff replied.
"How do you con a sheriff? How do you con a politician?" Jack Parker said with a laugh. "The sheriff's a politician. He's a good one."
Sheriff Lott allowed Brett Parker to walk him through the crime scene.
"He wanted to show me -- his house and how it had happened. …And then we went back downstairs and we sat at his kitchen table. And I … looked at him in the eyes and said basically, 'I don't believe you. That your evidence -- does not match your story,'" Lott said. "So the next mornin'-- we went and got the warrants for his arrest. And that's when I called him and told him to turn himself in."
On July 20, 2013, 97 days after the killings, Brett Parker surrendered to face two murder charges. But before he did, he recorded a video on his cell phone asking his 13-year-old daughter and his 5-year-old son for their support:
"I did not kill Tammy. They keep on -- they're pushing me and pushing me and pushing me until I break. What they're doin' is not right. I hope that you can stand up for me," Brett said in the video message.
From day one, he has insisted to Brooke he is innocent.
"He just told me he didn't do it, and he would never lay a hand on her. And I believed him, and I still do," Brooke told Schlesinger.
Brooke has evidence she believes can help prove her father innocent. But here's the question – will anyone believe her?
WAS PARKER STANDING HIS GROUND?
With Brett Parker's murder trial fast approaching, Libby Carswell, Tammy's mother, still could not be sure who killed her daughter. Was it Brett Parker, her son-in-law, or his assistant, Bryan Capnerhurst?
"I didn't see how Bryan could do it. I didn't see how Brett could do it," Carswell said. "I could not believe either one could do such a thing. And so I was baffled."
Defense attorney Dave Fedor thinks he can show a jury that Parker was just "standing his ground"-- defending his home and had no reason to kill his wife.
"She was the bankroll with the family. She was making approximately $160,000 a year, the goose that lays the golden egg, so to speak," Fedor told Schlesinger. "Now anybody in their right mind isn't gonna kill a mate that's making all the money."
But the prosecutors argued strongly that the "stand your ground" defense cannot be used in this case because, among other reasons, the killing took place where a crime -- illegal sports betting -- was being committed. So the defense will now say this was a robbery that escalated to murder. Dave Fedor brought in Mark Whitlark as co-counsel.
"This is a case about a man that was at the end of his rope who had a desire for money and a plan for violence," Whitlark told the court. "But his name's not Brett Parker, his name is Bryan Capnerhurst.
The prosecutor is Luck Campbell.
"We wanna talk about the evidence, the hard, cold facts that prove Brett Parker had no other alternative in his mind but to set up the -- the murder of his wife and frame his best friend," Campbell addressed jurors.
Campbell's key witness is Dr. Bradley Marcus, the medical examiner.
"My feeling is, is that when I get on that stand it's over for the defendant," Dr. Marcus told Schlesinger.
Asked why, Dr. Marcus replied, "Because I'm very confident in what I do and I know what I'm doing in that autopsy room."
Marcus testifies that gaping wound on Capnerhurst's arm shows there was no way he could have held onto the gun. Which he says can mean only one thing:
"I believe that gun was placed there by Brett Parker," Dr. Marcus told Schlesinger.
But the question is: why would Parker kill his wife and frame Bryan Capnerhurst? The prosecution says he had oldest motive in the book.
"We found a series of text messages … between he and a female indicative of an affair," said Maj. Stan Smith.
It is damaging and racy evidence that Parker was having an affair with Lindsay Mullins, his bank teller. She was caught on camera leaving a motel where rooms rent by the hour. And one of those rooms was rented by Brett Parker.
Prosecutor Luck Campbell: And what did you do once you go to the motel?
Lindsay Mullins: He told me there was a room and I went there.
Prosecutor Luck Campbell: And once inside, did y'all have a sexual encounter?
Lindsay Mullins: Yes.
Even his lawyers say there is now no doubt Brett Parker was an adulterer. But that does not mean he is a murderer.
"Who in the world's going to kill his wife just because he's havin' an affair? He wasn't gonna run off with the young lady, as she testified on the stand," Fedor told Schlesinger.
Defense attorney Mark Whitlark: You didn't have plans to run off or anything with Brett Parker, did you?
Lindsay Mullins: Not at all.
"It was-- it was just one of those fly-by-night things. And it-- it happens," said Fedor.
But the prosecutors argue Brett Parker could have killed his wife for lust or money, because he owed over $170,000. As it turns out, Brett the bookie, was betting his own money, lots of it, and badly.
"Brett has a problem. And I think he realizes he has a problem. But it was not a reason for murder, I promise you that," said Jack Parker.
Except the prosecutors say Brett's real problem was paying off all those debts. Tammy had investments and life insurance worth more than $1 million.
Ben Staples | Parker's accountant: She had $868,000 of life insurance.
Prosecutor Luck Campbell: And who was the beneficiary listed on that one?
Ben Staples: Brett.
"Do you believe that he killed his wife and Bryan Capnerhurst to get the insurance money?" Schlesinger asked Staples, who was the family's accountant.
"To get all the money, not just the insurance money. But yeah," he replied. "There's no doubt in my mind."
But Lanny Gunter says Parker might not have needed all that money. Gunter, who is serving time on federal charges for being a bookie, was Parker's bookie. He says Parker's big debts were actually no big deal.
Lanny Gunter: The debt that Brett had under his account was $100,000, $101,000.
Defense attorney Mark Whitlark: OK, but you weren't worried about that, were you?
Lanny Gunter: I've never been worried about Brett.
Defense attorney Mark Whitlark: And matter of fact, if he had called you and said, "Look, I'm havin' a problem," you woulda wiped the whole thing clean for him, wouldn't you?
Lanny Gunter: We would've worked somethin' out, yes, sir.
In this case, it's not enough to argue Brett Parker didn't do it. The defense wants to convince the jury that Capnerhurst did. Remember, the gun that killed Tammy was found in Capnerhurst's hand. It was Brett Parker's gun, but he has a witness who will swear she knows Brett Parker gave it to Capnerhurst a few weeks before the killing. The witness is Brooke, Brett Parker's teenaged daughter.
"I told my grandpa that I remembered I was in the room, and they were having a conversation about it," Brooke said.
"She said, 'Daddy gave Bryan a gun.' I said, 'How do you know?' She said, 'I was there,'" Jack Parker said. "I said, "You may have just saved your daddy's life.'"
So 14-year-old Brooke Parker takes the stand.
"I was in the office, Bryan and my dad were discussing a gun that my dad had. And-- they were just talking about how they thought it was good for him to have safety at his house and to protect Bryan's family," she testified.
But when the prosecutor cross examines Brooke, it does not go well.
"What were you feeling when you were being cross examined by the prosecutor?" Schlesinger asked Brooke.
"I was scared," she replied.
The prosecutor asks Brooke to read a transcript of a recorded phone conversation she had with her father in jail. The prosecutor claims Parker was coaching his daughter about what to say … to help him.
"I'm not doing it just to help him. I was in the room and I (sobbing) witnessed them talking about how he was giving a gun to Bryan. And I'm not lying about that. I was there and I remember," Brooke told Schlesinger.
It is hard to watch. Everybody in the courtroom knows what Brooke has been through.
"To see her up there on the stand. Bless her heart, she was tryin' to save her dad. That's all she had to hold onto," said Carswell of her granddaughter.
Nobody knows if the jury believes Brooke's testimony. And now the defense decides the only person who can save Brett Parker might well be Brett Parker himself.
BRETT PARKER'S BIG RISK
Today, Brett Parker the bookie is making the biggest bet of his life: gambling a jury will believe him when he testifies in his own murder trial.
It is a big risk for Brett Parker. But his lawyer, Dave Fedor, says Brett really has no choice.
"In South Carolina, Fedor explained, "if you're accused of shooting somebody, they want the defendant to get on the stand and say, 'I ain't done it.'"
Brett Parker: And as we -- as we walked by the office, I could see -- I could see Tammy's feet stickin' outta the bathroom. And then I knew somethin' was wrong and bad. That he had probably shot her. (Cries)
Parker has to confront the sordid details of his life that are now public: his adultery and his gambling addiction. He says he told Tammy about his compulsive betting:
Brett Parker: I sat in bed. She hugged me. And I was shakin'. I was scared. I mean, I had a gambling problem. But as Tammy is, she comforted me and she -- she was the best. (weeping)
Prosecutor Luck Campbell: Cause you would never do anything to hurt her.
Brett Parker: Never hurt her. I would never hurt Tammy. Never have.
is all playing out in front of Parker's teenage daughter, Brooke. She was in
court almost every day.
"Are you glad you were there?" Schlesinger asked Brooke.
"Uh- huh," she affirmed.
"Can I ask why?"
"To let my dad know I was supporting him," Brooke replied.
Parker can use all the support he can get. Prosecutor Luck Campbell is pushing him and he's pushing back:
Luck Campbell: You just testified to this jury twice in your examination, you saw your wife get murdered.
Brett Parker: I did not say that. I said I saw my wife dead.
Luck Campbell: Your quote. "Just went through seeing my wife murdered."
Brett Parker: See, there -- there you go twistin' stuff again. That's what happened. She was murdered. I didn't see the actual event take place. But I know what happened. That -- that's what I'm talkin' about. You twist. That's -- what you do. You -- you twist more stuff than I've ever seen.
But despite all the pushing, Brett Parker sticks to his story.
Luck Campbell: Did you think it was important to tell the police the truth?
Brett Parker: I did tell 'em the truth. I told 'em what's happened in that house. And that is the truth. And I believe, as I see it, the evidence proves it, that Brian … pulled the trigger and killed Tammy. That's the whole thing in this case. It's not that I was a gambler. That has nothin' to do with it. It's not that I had an affair. … What is the fact is the fact that Brian pulled the trigger and killed my wife. That is the fact. All this other stuff that y'all are tryin' to paint a picture of, paintin' me out to be this bad guy is not true.
To use his lawyer's words, Parker has told the jury repeatedly that "he ain't done it." And now the jurors will decide if they believe him.
Asked what the waiting was like, Libby Carswell told Schlesinger, "Oh my heart was just pounding. I don't know what the verdict's gonna be. … Because it was very convincing' on the stand. If I didn't know the whole case, what he's sayin' on the stand, I'd believed him."
almost three weeks of trial, the jury has its verdict in just over two-and-a
Brett Parker is found guilty of killing both his wife, Tammy, and his friend, Bryan Capnerhurst. His daughter, Brooke, was there watching when her father was legally branded her mother's murderer.
"What did you feel and what did you do when you heard the verdict?" Schlesinger asked Brooke.
"Started crying," she replied.
"Because what did you think?"
mean, I knew he didn't do it. So …" Brooke replied.
Brett Parker may be innocent in his daughter's eyes, but the judge sentences him to two consecutive life sentences, no parole.
"I looked at him with sadness. How could you kill the mother of your children?" Caswell said. "If you loved my daughter, you wouldn't have killed her, you could have walked away. … What happened to you that day?"
Brooke and her younger brother, Zack, lost their mother to murder and their father to prison. For now, they are living with Brett Parker's parents, Linda and Jack.
"What is it now that makes you weep still?" Schlesinger asked Jack Parker.
"The kids," he replied. "It's tough. Valentine's Day this past year, Zack came home. He brought me a Valentine's card … and he brought one to his mother. … And on his mother's card, (cries), he said, 'I lost a tooth.' And he wanted us to send that card up with balloons to his mama. That's tough. That's hard. …They didn't deserve this."
Four months after the murder conviction, Brett Parker and his father, Jack, were indicted on federal charges of operating an illegal gambling business.
They were found guilty. Brett was sentenced to two years; Jack was sentenced to five months.