Jury deliberations continue in Parker slaying trial

Jury deliberations continue in Parker slaying trial

September 1st, 2009 by Chloé Morrison in Georgia


* Judge Jon "Bo" Wood praised both lawyers for their work on the trial.

* Public defender David Dunn said it was just as likely that former Walker County Deputy Shane Green -- whom the defense alleged had an affair with Theresa Parker -- is responsible for her disappearance. District Attorney Leigh Patterson said jurors should be able to see from Mr. Green's testimony that the allegation isn't true.

* The jury will begin deliberating again today about 9 a.m.

LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Sam Parker's freedom is now in the hands of 12 jurors, who will continue deliberating today.

Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police officer, is charged with killing his wife, Walker County 911 operator Theresa Parker, in March 2007. He has pleaded not guilty.

Six women and six men began deliberating Monday afternoon after hearing closing statements from District Attorney Leigh Patterson and Mr. Parker's public defender, David Dunn.

Nearly 100 people came to Walker County Superior Court on Monday morning to hear the lawyer's closing words.

Mr. Dunn spoke first and told the jury he was "speaking from the gut" and that they had to be sure -- without a reasonable doubt -- that Mr. Parker committed the crimes for which he was indicted.

Mr. Parker is charged with four felonies -- malice murder, computer invasion of privacy, violation of an oath as public officer and giving false statements to investigators.

"I want you to think very closely about the evidence," he said. "What evidence is there?"

Mr. Dunn worked to discredit the prosecution's witnesses and said that some of the witness testimony was suspiciously similar.

"Everyone of these folks has been massaged and manipulated and scripted," he said.

He finished by telling the jury members that it is their duty to assume that Mr. Parker is innocent until proven guilty.

"You know what happens if you convict Sam," he said. "Everything stops right here and we never know (what happened to Mrs. Parker). Please don't do that."

After a short break, Ms. Patterson began her final remarks, emphasizing that Mr. Parker had three days to cover up the evidence that he killed his wife.

"He knew how to do it," she said. "He was trained to know how to collect evidence, and he knew how to not make a mess in the first place."

Ms. Patterson said Mr. Parker finally did what he told so many he could -- kill someone and hide a body where no one could ever find it.

She said Mr. Parker was insanely jealous because he thought his wife was having an affair with Walker County Deputy Shane Green. Between 12:35 and 1:25 a.m. on March 21, 2007, Mr. Parker drank some "liquid courage" and waited for his wife to return to their Cordell Avenue home, where he killed her, Ms. Patterson said.

"He is a heavy drinker, obsessed with his wives and displayed a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality," she said. "This is the guy Theresa Parker came home to every night. She almost made it out. She almost got some peace. Give her the peace she was so ready to find. Find him accountable. Find him guilty."