published Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Story on Sam Parker trial to air Saturday on CBS

Audio clip

Tracy Smith

On Saturday night, network TV will return to the Sam Parker murder trial in LaFayette, Ga.

The CBS show "48 Hours Mystery" will air "The Secret," an episode on the case that captivated media for three weeks last fall.

The show will tell examine the story of former LaFayette police officer Sam Parker, who was convicted of murdering his wife, Walker County 911 operator Theresa Parker. She disappeared in March 2007, and her body has never been found.

"It's one of those stories where you think maybe you know what happened, then you find out a little more information, and then suddenly you find out a little more information, and then suddenly there's a twist and maybe you don't know what happened," said Tracy Smith, a CBS correspondent who reported the story for "48 Hours."

Ms. Smith and CBS camera crews filmed the trial and returned afterwards to interview key characters in the case to create "a fuller picture of what happened," she said.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Dan Henry Vehicles pass a sign on Corinth Road near the Parker residence in LaFayette, Ga., where authorities arrested Sam Parker in conjunction with the disappearance of his wife Theresa Parker nearly a year ago.

"I think even if you followed the Parker case, there will still be things surprising or new to you in this hour," she said. "We got a chance to talk with the jury; you haven't heard a lot from the jury."

After Mrs. Parker disappeared, hundreds of volunteers spent weeks searching for her, attracting attention from more than a dozen national media outlets.

In February 2008, Mr. Parker was charged with killing his wife and a jury convicted him on Sept. 4, 2009. He was sentenced to life in prison.

A preview of the "48 Hours" broadcast on the CBS Web site runs less than a minute and features 911 calls about Mrs. Parker's disappearance and interview clips with Sam Parker, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson and others involved in the trial.

Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson, who prosecuted Mr. Parker, spoke with "48 Hours" for the episode.

"I think that the case was probably very interesting to the media because you've got someone who's disappeared who still has not been found," Ms. Patterson said in an interview Wednesday.

She plans to watch the episode, she said, partly to see how producers "put all of the interviews together."

Lookout Mountain Public Defender David Dunn will be watching, too. Mr. Dunn still represents Mr. Parker, who is appealing his conviction to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Article: Parker niece: 'She was the glue in the family'

Article: Theresa Parker laid to rest

Article: Crowds gather to grieve with Parker family

Article: Funeral services set for slain Walker County dispatcher Theresa Parker

Article: GBI confirms Parker was a homicide victim

Article: Examination of Parker bones complete

Article: Examination of Parker’s remains complete

Article: Keychain led to ID of Parker

Article: Theresa Parker's remains finally found

Video: Theresa Parker's body found

Article: Family relieved that Theresa Parker's remains have been found, sheriff says

Article: Find brings back ‘hurt’

Slideshow: Theresa Parker's remains finally found

Article:Parker trial turns media spotlight on Walker County

Article: Jury deliberations continue in Parker slaying trial

Article: Testimony gives insight into culture of police

Article: Parker chooses not to testify

Article: State rests its case against former officer Sam Parker

Article: Witnesses testify to violence, threats by Sam Parker

Article: Officers express doubts on Parker

Article: Friend says Parker acted normal on trip

Article: Cadaver dogs out of Parker trial

Article: Friend asked deputies to check on Mrs. Parker

Article: Judge keeps Parker in jail

Article: Chattanooga: Judge denies separation of charges for Parker

PDF: Indictment against Sam Parker and motions from defense lawyers and prosecutors

Article: Georgia: Sam Parker talks about life in jail

Article: Investigators use robotic camera to search well, Blue Hole for clues or body of Theresa Parker

Judge denies bond for Sam Parker

Parker bond pending judge’s decision

Parker facing more charges

Husband arrested in missing dispatcher case

Walker County 911 dispatcher missing since March 21

International investigator, K-9 dog join Parker search

Dispatcher's family plans vigil to keep search alive

Officer to face extradition on charges in missing dispatcher case

LaFayette Police officer fired for having explosives

Sheriff starts tip line for Parker case

Dispatcher's family tries to move on as questions persist

Message boards new turf in Parker case

Missing dispatcher fundraiser planned

New prosecutor accepts missing woman case

Missing woman's husband fired

Dispatcher's friend keeps busy with vigils, fundraisers

Family of missing woman announces launch of Web site

Theresa Parker family creates Web site

Illinois case mirrors Parker's

Mrs. Parker's 911 job filled

LaFayette officer suspended without pay

Husband of missing dispatcher Theresa Parker says he's been singled out unfairly

Search continues for dispatcher

LaFayette officer charged with making false statements in Parker investigation

When a loved one is missing

Pond draining comes up empty

Authorities draining pond in dispatcher search

Benefit for missing woman seeks smiles

Lawyer to Parker: Stop talking

Mr. Dunn said he decided to cooperate with "48 Hours" to ensure that the story was told fairly.

"I guess we'll see on Saturday night whether that happened or not," Mr. Dunn said.

He admitted that, since his client is still appealing his conviction, the national media attention makes him a little nervous.

"(The episode) certainly could figure into a future trial," he said. "That will depend on the objectivity of the piece."

Ms. Smith said it wasn't hard to find willing interview subjects. Family and friends of Mrs. Parker want to see her remembered, while those who support Mr. Parker believe he's been misrepresented and want his side of the story told, she said

"This story is incredibly intriguing," she said. "There's no crime scene, no murder weapon, no body. Where is Theresa?"

IF YOU WATCH

What: "The Secret," episode of "48 Hours Mystery" on the Sam Parker murder trial in LaFayette, Ga.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday on CBS

Preview: Go to www.cbsnews.com and click on the "48 Hours Mystery" tab.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.