Tuesday, August 18, 2009
[GA] Ex Police Sgt. Sam Parker murder trial day 2
UPDATE: FORMER OFFICER SAYS SAM PARKER ADMITTED KILLING WIFE
by Josh O'Bryant
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009
[Excerpts] A former policeman testified this morning that Sam Parker told him he shot his wife and buried her. Ben Chaffin, who worked with Parker, said Sam told him in a phone call, “I really did it this time” and that he had shot Theresa Parker through the head... In early April 2007, Chaffin, a corporal with the LaFayette Police Department and a good friend of Sam, was arrested for making false statements to investigators in the Parker case. In late July 2007, Chaffin was charged with tampering with evidence, violation of oath by public officer, and computer invasion of privacy. He was released out of jail on bond. Chaffin has been given immunity for his testimony. Chaffin said Sam told him he buried her in a “place that no one can find.” “He said that if I told anybody, he would kill me,” Chaffin said. Chaffin said the phone call ended but Sam called back and threatened him again — if he “told anybody, he would kill me.” Chaffin said he cut off the phone, threw it across the bed, and he was crying and scared. Chaffin said he did not contact anyone about the call and that he feared Sam. Chaffin said he did not recall the next day his conversation with Sam. When he saw Sam at work, he did not recollect the conversation, nor did he until he was questioned by an investigator... POSTED EARLIER TODAY: A witness in the Sam Parker murder trial this morning said Sam told her he wanted to kill Theresa Parker. Jurors listened to a recorded video deposition from Virginia Cordell, a friend of the Parkers and who died earlier this year... Sam came to her house on March 21, 2007, the last day anyone saw Theresa. He was “three sheets in the wind” and asked if her if she had any beer or whiskey for him to drink. Sam told her he would like to put a bullet between Theresa's eyes. Sam showed her a receipt revealing that Theresa had booked a reservation for two guests at Honeybee Hideaway in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Sam said he gave Theresa $1,000 to go on the trip. Sam said he would inherit $70,000 from his father’s death and that Theresa would not get any of it. Sam told her about Theresa renting an apartment in Fort Oglethorpe for $700 a month. He also told her he was running a tag on another man's vehicle... Cordell did not immediately tell anyone about Sam’s threat toward Theresa. She told Theresa’s mother about the threat after Theresa had been missing. However, she took the threat seriously. "At that time, Sam was three sheets to the wind. Yeah, I believed him," Cordell said. She said she did not call police because "I love Sam. Sam was a good neighbor." She did not warn Theresa because “I was too scared. I thought Sam would go home and go to bed (and sleep it off)”... She recalled a conversation with Sam in which he said if someone broke into his home, he would kill the intruder and get rid of the body. [Full article here]
CHAFFIN: PARKER TOLD ME HE SHOT HIS WIFE IN THE HEAD
Chattanooga Times Free Press.
By: Chloé Morrison
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009
[Excerpts] Former LaFayette, Ga., police officer Ben Chaffin testified this morning in Walker County Superior Court that former Officer Sam Parker told him he shot his wife Theresa Parker in the head... Mr. Chaffin also testified that he helped Mr. Parker break into Mrs. Parker’s e-mail. Before Mr. Chaffin testified, the 15-member jury heard videotaped testimony from Virginia Cordell, who now is deceased. In her videotaped testimony, she said she had witnessed threats and drunken behavior by Mr. Parker. The elderly, sick woman seemed confused at times as public defender David Dunn questioned her on the video. [Full article here]
DRAMATIC TESTIMONY IN DAY 2 OF SAM PARKER MURDER TRIAL
John Madewell firstname.lastname@example.org
August 18, 2009 6:35 PM
[Excerpts] ...Chaffin was offered immunity to testify against Parker, unless he was found to have been involved in the murder. In cross-examination Parker's defense attorneys brought otu the fact that in earlier questioning, he had changed his story to investigators numerous times... [Full article here]
SAM PARKER TRIAL DAY 2
August 18, 2009 - 5:37pm.
[Excerpts] Prosecutors in the Sam Parker murder trial now have the testimony they needed to convict the former police sergeant of the murder of his wife Theresa in 2007... But, defense attorneys point-out that story came out only after former officer Ben Chaffin was offered immunity... On the evening of March 21st, the last day anyone had seen Theresa Parker, her estranged husband Sam spent most of the night talking with an old friend, Christy Bellflower. At 4 in the morning he called fellow officer Ben Chaffin and talked for 6 minutes. Chaffin was called to the stand. BEN CHAFFIN, FORMER LAFAYETTE POLICE OFFICER: "he said he had really done it this time...really gonna do it this time. Q-You're not sure which? No Ma'm. What else? He said he had a place that was hard to find..you never would find it. What else? And, that he had shot Theresa through the head". Chaffin went on to say that Parker earlier had discussed a nearby pond that had a lot of turtles, and that anything thrown in there would not last long. But Bellflower testified she was close enough to hear part of what Parker said to Chaffin on the phone. She was cross-examined by defense attorney David Dunn... The defense maintains that Chaffin, who now lives in Alabama, was interviewed three times by the GBI, but didn't remember his friend's phone call confession until he was offered immunity. Chaffin faced up to 28 years in prison for four felony offenses, including evidence tampering, and making false statements to investigators. Chaffin repeatedly told the court he remembered little about any of the interviews. CHAFFIN "you didn't tell GBI...I forgot about it." Theresa Parker's body has never been found, and Parker remains in jail without bond. The jury is brought in daily from Bartow county. [Full article here]
THERESA PARKER'S BEST FRIEND SAID SHE HAD "WANTED OUT TO MAKE A FRESH START"
posted August 18, 2009
[Excerpts] Teresa Parker's best friend testified Tuesday that at the time the Walker County 911 dispatcher disappeared "she wanted out (of her marriage to Sam Parker) to make a fresh start."
Rhonda Knox said Sam Parker's "drinking was out of control. He was up one minute and down the next. She was terrified the way he was acting."
Ms. Knox said she was planning to help Ms. Parker move into a townhome in Fort Oglethorpe on the weekend she disappeared... Ms. Knox said Theresa would get calls from Parker at work, "and if she was upset she would take the call in the kitchen because it would not be recorded on that phone." She said Parker would embarrass her in public and the marriage "was getting progressively worse." The couple had been married 13 years. The witness said on one occasion that Sam Parker believed one of his neighbors was stealing from him, and he went to his house "and put a gun in his face." She said, "Sometimes everything was great and he was hugging her, then he was calling her a b----. He was very volatile. It was freaking her out." Ms. Knox said Theresa Parker began carrying a handgun for her protection. She said in mid-March 2007, that Ms. Parker decided to make a trip to Gatlinburg to do some shopping. She said several at the 911 center were invited to go, including a "handsome" Walker County deputy, Shane Green, who often stopped by the 911 center. Ms. Knox said Deputy Green was a great favorite at the center. Ms. Knox said she could not afford to go and Ms. Parker went alone to a lodge in the Smokies. She told Public Defender David Dunn that she did not know anything about Ms. Parker spending 45 minutes in a parking lot with Deputy Green urging him to make the trip. She also said she did not know that Ms. Parker made 26 cell phone calls to the deputy while she was in Gatlinburg. She said at one point Ms. Parker called from the lodge while lying in a hot tub. "She was telling me how great it was to be by herself." Ms. Knox said when Ms. Parker got back from Gatlinburg she was confronted by an angry Sam Parker who had a receipt from the lodge listing two guests. She said Ms. Parker proceeded with plans to move to Fort Oglethorpe. She said she chose there because it was near her sister, Christina Hall, and her children. She said she thought the divorce was amicable, saying Ms. Parker had agreed to let her husband have the property. She was to get $5,000. He was to continue to care for the house cat, nine outside cats and several dogs. She said they both were animal lovers. She said Ms. Parker had given her husband back the wedding ring and the other jewelry he had given her. "She wanted them to be friends," she said. She said Sam Parker was wondering how she was going to make the $750 per month payment on the new place since she only took home $1,500 a month. She said she talked to Ms. Parker numerous times on March 21, 2007, while she was out making arrangements to move. The witness said she talked with her at late as 11:54 p.m. when Ms. Parker was getting ready to go back down to LaFayette for another load of her belongings. She said Ms. Parker had waited late so Sam Parker would already be asleep. Ms. Knox said she went on to sleep at her residence on Lookout Mountain, then she was awakened by a call from Theresa's cell phone at 6:01 a.m. But she said there was no one on the line. She said that alarmed her and she called Shane Green and asked him to check on her. She asked him to keep it quiet. She said, "I thought they might be in a domestic, and I didn't want nobody in trouble. I thought the world of Sam, too." Ms. Knox said she continued to make frantic calls to Theresa Parker's cell phone, but no one ever answered.
CHAFFIN SAYS SAM PARKER TOLD HIM HE SHOT THERESA IN THE HEAD
Said He Put Her "Where She Could Not Be Found"
posted August 18, 2009
A former LaFayette Police officer testified Tuesday that Sam Parker told him in an early-morning phone call that he had just shot his wife, Theresa, in the head.
Ben Chaffin also told the jury in LaFayette that Parker said he had put her body "in a place that would be hard to find or they would never find it."
He said Parker then called him right back and said, "He would have to kill me, too, if I told anybody."
Chaffin is the government's star witness in the trial of Parker for the slaying of his wife, a 911 dispatcher for Walker County whose body has never been found.
Chaffin said he worked with Parker for 10 years and Parker was his supervisor most of the time. He said, "I considered him like a big brother."
He said he got a call from Parker in March of 2007 asking him to check Theresa's computer to see who she had been talking to. He said he had set up the computer for Ms. Parker.
Chaffin, who has moved away from LaFayette, said he went to the Parkers' trailer home and got into her email since she had not changed the password he set up. He said she had been emailing family and friends and no one else.
He said he did find the receipt from the lodge in Gatlinburg where she had recently stayed. He said the Parkers did not have a printer so he forwarded the email to his computer. He said he and Parker went to his home and he printed it out there.
He said Parker was upset about the receipt, believing his wife was having an affair. He said Parker left without speaking. He said he heard a noise in the kitchen and then saw where Parker had slammed down a bottle of vodka on the counter.
He said Parker posted a copy of the motel receipt on a wall at police headquarters.
The 40-year-old Chaffin said on the night that Theresa disappeared - March 21, 2007 - he went to Bud's Sports Bar in Brainerd with a state trooper. He said he had four or five beers before driving back to LaFayette. He said he watched TV with the trooper, then went home around midnight. He said he had a couple of shots of Jim Beam whiskey before going to sleep.
The witness said he was awakened by a call from Parker shortly after 4 a.m. He said Parker said he was calling from the home of Christy Bellflower. He said Parker was joking that he was with "a blonde with big boobs and a nice rear end."
Chaffin said, "It sounded like they were having a party."
He said Parker put Ms. Bellflower on the line briefly. Chaffin said he put the phone down. "I was hoping they would hang up and let me go back to sleep."
He said Parker then asked Ms. Bellflower to go to the other side of the room. He said Parker then began talking in a lower voice.
Chaffin said Parker told him "he'd really done it this time."
He said Parker then proceeded to say he had shot Theresa and disposed of her body.
Chaffin said after that call and the second short one "I broke down. I sat in the middle of the bed and was bellowing like a baby."
He said before going to bed for the night he went to the front door and looked out. He acknowledged he was scared of Sam Parker.
Bue he told the jury from Bartow County that when he woke up the next morning he had completely forgotten about the calls from Parker.
"I didn't recall anything about the phone calls," he maintained.
He said the first time it came back to him was when he was being interviewed by agents on the case.
Chaffin said he had gone out to eat with the Parkers several times and also had dinner at their home. He said he had seen them fighting several times and once had to step between them.
Chaffin, who faces several minor charges in the case, including tampering with Theresa Parker's computer, said he has been promised immunity from prosecution in exchange for his "truthful" testimony. He said he was just told about that last week.
Ms. Bellflower told the jury she was formerly married to a policeman and was acquainted with Parker and Chaffin. She said she had heard that Parker's father had died so she called the home number of the father, Logan Parker. She said, "Logan was the sweetest guy in the world."
She said she left a message for Sam Parker saying she was sorry to hear about his father and that he could call her sometime.
She said Parker returned the call and also asked where she lived and if he could come over. She said she told him he could.
Ms. Bellflower said he first stopped by her house on a Saturday night a short time before Theresa disappeared. She said he came one other night and then showed up on March 22, 2007, around 1:30 a.m.
According to prosecutors, that would have been just after he allegedly killed Theresa Parker and dumped her body.
Ms. Bellflower said Parker acted normally. "He was just being silly. He was just being Sam."
She said he had a plastic water bottle with him with vodka in it. She said she made a mixed drink for him, but he called it "a girl's drink" and said he preferred the vodka straight.
She said they flirted and she kissed him, but they did not have sex though he stayed several hours.
He said after 4 a.m., Parker asked her to dial the number of Ben Chaffin for him on her cell phone. She said when Chaffin answered, Parker told him, "I'm here with this big-boobed blonde."
She said that embarrassed her and she went into the kitchen.
Under cross-examination, she said she was less than 15 feet from where Parker was sitting. She said he did not drop his voice and she could hear him talking to Chaffin. But she said she was not paying attention to what he was saying.
She said she wanted Parker to leave before 6 a.m. when her 13-year-old son would be waking up, and he did. She said her young twins were staying with her mother that night.
The witness said Parker later visited her and said concerning Theresa that he "heard she was with her niece in Florida."
Earlier Tuesday, a neighbor of Parker said he was threatening to shoot his estranged wife the night she disappeared.
The deposition of Virginia Cordell was played to the jury.. Mrs. Cordell was very ill at the time her deposition was taken, and she has since died.
Mrs. Cordell also said that in a previous conversation about two weeks earlier Parker told her "he could dispose of bodies where they will never be found."
She said at the time he was referring to anyone who ever burglarized his home.
She said on that occasion he was drunk and she told him, "Sam, get out, you're drunk."
Mrs. Cordell said, "Sam could do anything when he got a buzz." She said he once hopped over the banister and jumped to the ground off her front porch, though it was about 10 feet down.
Mrs. Cordell said the night Parker allegedly talked about shooting Theresa, he was upset after getting a receipt from a motel where his wife had stayed in Gatlinburg. He said it showed there were two guests.
She said he was also talking about Theresa moving to Fort Oglethorpe, saying he did not know how she was going to afford the rent.
Mrs. Cordell said Parker said he had given Theresa $1,000 to go shopping on the trip to Gatlinburg.
The witness said the Parkers were good neighbors and she loved them both.
Asked why she did not call police or anyone else after hearing the threat, she said, "I always loved Sam. I didn't want to get Sam in trouble. Sam's always been good to me."
She added, "I thought Sam would go home and go to bed really."
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