GBI says Parker's story has 'inconsistencies'

GBI says Parker's story has 'inconsistencies'

August 25th, 2009 by Chloé Morrison in Georgia

LaFAYETTE, Ga. - A couple of days after Theresa Parker disappeared, her husband told investigators she was mentally unstable.

"I don't have the first idea why she snapped like she did," Sam Parker said in a recorded interview with GBI investigator James Harris. "She's having a nervous breakdown."

Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police officer, is charged with murdering Mrs. Parker a couple of days before the two were scheduled to settle the details of their divorce. Mrs. Parker was last heard from a little before midnight on March 21, 2007.

Mr. Parker has pleaded not guilty.

For much of the day Monday, 15 jurors listened to the interviews that investigators conducted with Mr. Parker in the days after his wife's disappearance.

"I'm absolutely at a loss for ideas," Mr. Parker told investigators, according to tapes played in court. "I absolutely don't know what's happened to her."

Mr. Harris said there were inconsistencies between Mr. Parker's story and information gathered from others by investigators.

Mr. Parker said the last time he saw was his wife was the evening of March 21, when she was loading her car, preparing to move out of the couple's home. He said that, at about 10 p.m., he got a call from a female friend, Christy Bellflower, and went to her house a bit before midnight.

But Mrs. Bellflower testified last week that Mr. Parker didn't get to her house until about 2 a.m. on March 22.

After leaving Ms. Bellflower's house at about 6 a.m., Mr. Parker said he drove his truck to his father's house in Trion, Ga., before going back to his house in LaFayette for a few minutes to prepare for a fishing trip. He said he was at his LaFayette house from about 7:30 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. and saw his wife's 4Runner at the home and assumed she was in her room sleeping. He said her keys were at the home that morning, but not later that afternoon when he came back home after fishing.

On the tapes played in court, Mr. Harris asked Mr. Parker many times if he drove his truck to all the locations he described and he continually said "yes."

But two Walker County deputies testified last week that, when they went looking for Mrs. Parker at the LaFayette residence at about 6:30 a.m. on March 22, Mr. Parker's truck and police car were at the house, but Mrs. Parker's vehicle was not.

"I wanted to make sure I was hearing that right," Mr. Harris said about Mr. Parker's testimony about driving the truck all night. "Deputies had said the truck was at the house. So I knew there was a conflict there."

Mr. Harris said the inconsistencies in Mr. Parker's story were so suspicious that authorities began thinking of Mr. Parker as a suspect about a week after Mrs. Parker disappeared.

During the late-night interview with investigators on March 25, Mr. Parker said he was sure his wife was cheating on him and took another man on a recent trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., even though investigators told him they found no evidence that Mrs. Parker was having an affair.

When Walker County Detective David Gilleland expressed deep concern for Mrs. Parker's safety and then asked Mr. Parker if he was concerned, Mr. Parker said he felt like he didn't know his wife anymore. He said if she lied about taking someone with her to Gatlinburg, he doesn't know "what she would tell me or not tell me."

"We weren't communicating," he said. "I'm absolutely at a loss for what has gone wrong. Besides that I couldn't hurt her because we weren't talking."