published Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Judge lights ‘dynamite” under Parker jurors

by Chloé Morrison

LaFAYETTE, Ga. — Walker County Superior Court Judge Jon “Bo” Wood this afternoon read the “dynamite” charge, formally called an Allen charge, to the jury in the Sam Parker murder trial.

Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police officer, is charged with killing his wife, Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker, in March 2007. The jurors have been deliberating since Monday afternoon.

Jurors have said they have not reached a verdict on the “malice murder” count, the most serious charge Mr. Parker faces.

The “dynamite” charge comes from the idea that the judge is supposed to light dynamite under the jurors to encourage them to come to a decision.

In his charge to jurors Thursday, Judge Wood said they have been “deliberating for a considerable period of time” and they are meant to find a verdict not to continue in disagreement. Judge Wood told them they need to consider each other’s opinions “with a disposition to be convinced by them.”

He also told jurors to put aside pride and not to indulge in a spirit of controversy.

Mr. Parker’s public defender, David Dunn, said today he thinks the trial will wrap up one way or another by Friday.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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