Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Jurors in the double-murder trial of Brett Parker heard from the family of one of the victims and a bookie during testimony Monday.
Parker is accused of killing his wife, Tammy Parker, and a gambling parter, Bryan Capnerhurst, at the Parkers' home in April of 2012.
Prosecutors believe the slayings were an act of premeditation; Parker's attorneys, however, say Capnerhurst killed Tammy Parker, and Brett Parker killed Capnerhurst in self-defense.
The first witness on Monday, Lanny Gunter, testified on behalf of the prosecution. Gunter is serving time after a conviction on federal gambling charges.
Gunter told the court he took bets for Brett Parker at his online gambling website, "Betcc.com." Gunter told jurors the betting began in either 2010 or 2011, and that at one point, Brett Parker owed him about $101,000.
Prosecutors are claiming that gambling debt was one of the motives in the killings.
According to Gunter, Brett Parker opened a second account under the pseudonym "Hal," incurring between $40,000-$50,000 on that account. At one point, the gambling debt between the two accounts had ballooned to near $176,000, Gunter said.
During questioning from the solicitor's office, Gunter revealed two key claims: first, that he called Jack Parker, Brett Parker's father, on April 13, 2012 (the day of the killings) and was immediately asked by Jack if Brett owed him any money; the second, that Brett told him he was growing tired of Tammy's "complaining and bitching."
He also revealed that upon telling Brett Parker he had informed investigators of Brett Parker's gambling debts owed through his sports betting website, "he looked like he'd seen a ghost."
Also brought up was a debt Brett Parker owed Capnerhurst for work done in his sports betting business. Capnerhurst answered phones and placed bets on Parker's behalf, witnesses said. The amount he was owed was disputed, but one witness said it amounted to $20,000, or one-and-one-half years work.
Other testimony included a female friend of Brett Parker. The two, she said, developed a relationship while Brett Parker delivered medical equipment to her nursing facility. Upon cross examination from lead defense counsel Mark Whitlark, the woman revealed she'd never seen Brett Parker angry, but that in October 2011, he did admit he was having marital issues and wanted to leave his wife, but that the financial obstacles would be too steep.
The prosecution also tried to counter claims by the defense that Capnerhurst was capable of killing, and that he had come to the house to rob Brett Parker. A procession of the state's character witnesses all described Capnerhurst as calm and patient. Many of them also said Capnerhurst was scared of guns.
Among those on the stand were Bryan Capnerhurst's widow, Cindi.
His widow was questioned about her guilty plea in a 2000 embezzlement case in which she admitted to taking $35,000 from a bank she worked at. The defense previously had accused her of taking the money to pay off her husband's gambling debts.
At times she broke down as she spoke.
"My lawyer told the court that [claim], she said, "I never corrected him because I was not in the right state of mind." She also said her and her husband never discussed any amount of money in Brett Parker's safe.
She on the day before the killings, her husband told her that if she did not hear from him, that he told her to "call 9-11."
Testimony will continue Tuesday morning.