LaFayette: Judge keeps Parker in jail

LaFayette: Judge keeps Parker in jail

May 15th, 2009 by Chloé Morrison in Georgia

Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover Theresa Parker's mother, Claire Carruthers, right, embraces her daughter Christina Hall outside the Walker County Courthouse Thursday following a motion hearing in the case of Sam Parker, who is accused of killing his estranged wife, Theresa. Mr. Parker, a a former Lafayette police officer, has been in jail for more than a year.

Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover Theresa Parker's mother, Claire...

LaFAYETTE, Ga. - Hilda Wilson will have to wait a little longer to find out if the man accused of killing her sister will stay behind bars until his trial.

"I would be really upset if he got bond," she said Thursday.

Sam Parker, the man charged with the slaying of his estranged wife, Theresa Parker, appeared Thursday before Superior Court Judge Jon "Bo" Wood for a second motion hearing. Mr. Parker was dressed in a white-collared shirt and black dress pants, instead of the blue-gray jumpsuit he wore at previous hearings.

The former LaFayette police officer has been in jail for more than a year, accused of killing Mrs. Parker, a former Walker County 911 operator, who disappeared in March 2007. Her body never has been found despite countless searches over the past two years.

After listening to arguments from the defense and prosecution, Judge Wood said he would consider the defense's renewed bond request and issue a ruling quickly. The decision was expected Thursday but had not been made by late in the evening.

At the hearing, assistant public defender Doug Woodruff argued that the cost to house and transport Mr. Parker is a burden on the county and that his client should be released to his family. He also said that his client could wear a GPS tracking device so authorities could keep tabs on his whereabouts.

District Attorney Leigh Patterson argued that bond had been denied once and circumstances have not changed since then, so it should be denied again.

A trial date has not been set and lawyers said there will be more hearings because there are still a number of motions for the judge to consider, ranging from a change of venue request from the defense to a motion to allow witness testimony via deposition from Mrs. Patterson.

Thursday's motion hearing was originally scheduled for today, but was moved at the last minute. Mr. Woodruff said the change was a result of scheduling conflicts.

Mrs. Parker's mother, Claire Carruthers, was the only family at the hearing and said she didn't know about the schedule change until Wednesday about 11 p.m. Her daughter, Mrs. Wilson, had planned to drive from Florida for the hearing, but missed it because of the change.

"We were planning on placing purple ribbons on Theresa's property in memory of her," Mrs. Wilson said Thursday. "We just want to do something because sometimes it feels like there is nothing going on."

Mrs. Patterson has said many times that she will not comment on the case because she does not want it tried in the media.

Mrs. Parker's other sister, Christina Hall, who lives in Northwest Georgia, arrived Thursday to meet with prosecutors after the hearing. On the advice of Mrs. Patterson, she and Mrs. Carruthers declined to comment about the day's court proceedings.

For Mrs. Wilson and her three daughters, who were very close to their aunt, even happy life events bring sadness because they can't be shared with Mrs. Parker.

Mrs. Wilson's daughter Amanda Gilbert is newly engaged, and wants to find a way to include her aunt in the wedding ceremony, maybe by having a picture of her there, Mrs. Wilson said.

"It is extremely emotional because the first thing we would do is call aunt Theresa," she said.