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Monday, August 17, 2009

[GA] Wow! And it was only day ONE of the Sgt.-Sam-Parker-murder-of-wife-Theresa trial

...DISTRICT ATTORNEY LEIGH PATTERSON, IN HER OPENING STATEMENTS, SAID, “THERESA PARKER WAS MUCH MORE THAN A FEW LINES ON A POLICE REPORT.” PATTERSON SAID SHE WILL FOCUS ON THOSE WHO KNEW AND SAW THE COUPLE SHORTLY BEFORE THERESA PARKER DISAPPEARED. SHE SAID THEY WILL TESTIFY ABOUT THERESA’S VIEW ON HER IMPENDING DIVORCE AND HER FEAR OF SAM...

It may seem these excerpted gatherings below from the day-one trial articles are long - but the actual articles are much longer. Thank you to the media for your thoroughness and attention to detail. It's all that will be known about Theresa to most of us. As I'm going through them trying to remove the repeated and lesser info, I'm amazed at the differences that are reported in each - not contradictions, but just focus on different parts of the trial testimony and witnesses. It's hard to imagine this all happened in one day of trial, especially so much in the first day. I have been getting up inbetween editing and repeating, "Wow!"

I have high, high hopes.

Georgians don't often prosecute a murder without a body, but they are now. They are convinced.

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THE PROSECUTION TEAM

...[DISTRICT ATTORNEY LEIGH] PATTERSON TOLD THE JURY, "I FEEL CONFIDENT I CAN CARRY THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN THIS CASE." SHE SAID THE 41-YEAR-OLD MS. PARKER WAS "A DAUGHTER, A SISTER, A MUCH-LOVED AUNT TO MANY NIECES AND NEPHEWS AND A DEAR FRIEND TO MANY." SHE SAID SAM PARKER "DEPRIVED HER OF THE NEW LIFE SHE WAS TRYING TO START"...

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And the line up of information so far - already - has me shaking my head as I read the abuse of police power in tracking Theresa's activities - her motel information faxed to her "investigating" police sgt. husband after other officers verify he's legit on the phone, her hacked emails by another officer, her new address to be fetched for her husband through a police officer who agrees to retrieve that info for him through the water department. To all of you who think domestic violence is domestic violence - let me tell you, officer-involved is dv on steroids, power-gone-wild, and always always armed.

I can see the blue walls pressing in on Theresa even on this first day.

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FIRST DAY OF SAM PARKER MURDER TRIAL GETS UNDER WAY IN WALKER COUNTY
Rome News Tribune
by Josh O'Bryant
August 17, 2009
[Excerpts] Public defender David Dunn told jurors that the prosecution has “nothing” to convict Sam Parker of murder. Parker’s trial began Monday in Walker County Superior Court in downtown LaFayette. He is accused of killing his wife, Theresa Parker, who has been missing since March 2007 and whose body has not been found... The jury, consisting of nine women and six men (including three alternates), was picked last week from Bartow County. It is not being sequestered. Parker, a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department when his wife disappeared, was charged in February 2008 with her murder... Theresa, a dispatcher with Walker County 911, was in the process of divorcing Sam. DISTRICT ATTORNEY LEIGH PATTERSON, IN HER OPENING STATEMENTS, SAID, “THERESA PARKER WAS MUCH MORE THAN A FEW LINES ON A POLICE REPORT.” PATTERSON SAID SHE WILL FOCUS ON THOSE WHO KNEW AND SAW THE COUPLE SHORTLY BEFORE THERESA PARKER DISAPPEARED. SHE SAID THEY WILL TESTIFY ABOUT THERESA’S VIEW ON HER IMPENDING DIVORCE AND HER FEAR OF SAM. Testimony began with a focus on Theresa Parker’s trip to a Gatlinburg, Tenn., resort. Two former employees of Black Bear Lodge, a resort in Gatlinburg, testified about handling Theresa’s reservation on March 17, 2007... [Sarah] Mustar said she took Theresa Parker’s initial reservation... “She told me she needed a break. She said, ‘I need to get away. I need a break’”... Marcy Simmons, a former employee at the Black Bear Lodge, who testified that she was taking a break outside when she saw Theresa pull up to park in front of the registration office alone. According to Simmons, she did not see her with anyone, and she stayed at the lodge for two nights, Saturday and Sunday. SIMMONS ALSO TESTIFIED THAT SHE HAD RECEIVED A PHONE CALL DURING THAT TIME FROM LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER SAM PARKER, WHO SPECIFICALLY ASKED ABOUT HIS WIFE’S RESERVATION FOR “AN INVESTIGATION.” LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT LT. KENNETH CAUREATHERS, WHO HAS BEEN WITH THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE PAST 39 YEARS, TOOK THE STAND AND TESTIFIED TO SPEAKING WITH SAM PARKER ABOUT HIS PENDING DIVORCE AND THERESA’S TRIP TO GATLINBURG, SAYING SAM TOLD CAUREATHERS THAT THERESA WAS THERE WITH SOMEBODY. CAUREATHERS ALSO TESTIFIED THAT SAM PARKER TOLD HIM HE’D FILED A MISSING PERSON REPORT AND THAT PARKER TOLD HIM HE WOULD BE COMING INTO “A LOT OF MONEY” AND THAT IT WOULD BE $10,000... [Full article here]

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CHAFFIN WILL TESTIFY AGAINST SAM PARKER
Chattanooga Times Free Press
By: Chloé Morrison
Monday, Aug. 17, 2009
[Excerpts] Former LaFayette police officer Harbin “Ben” Chaffin has been given immunity from prosecution and will testify against his one-time co-worker Sam Parker. That statement by District Attorney Leigh Patterson came in her opening statement in Mr. Parker’s trial on charges of murdering his wife, Theresa Parker, in 2007... MR. PARKER ALSO FACES THREE OTHER FELONY CHARGES. MR. CHAFFIN ALSO WAS CHARGED WITH THREE FELONIES, INCLUDING ONE ALLEGING HE HELPED MR. PARKER BREAK INTO MRS. PARKER’S E-MAIL... [District Attorney Leigh] Patterson outlined the evidence her team has gathered, creating a time line for what happened the night Mrs. Parker disappeared. She said she plans to call many witnesses, play phone calls, show a video deposition and present forensic evidence that proves Mr. Parker killed his wife... [Full article here]

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SAM PARKER MURDER TRIAL UNDERWAY
wdef.com
Bill Mitchell
August 17, 2009
[Excerpts] ...LEIGH PATTERSON, PROSECUTOR: "Theresa Parker is not just missing ... We intend to prove to you that Theresa is dead. That she was murdered. And we intend to prove that the defendant, Samuel L. Parker..is the one who murdered Theresa"... She also told the jury she would put Lafayette police officer and Parker's long-time friend Ben Chaffin on the stand. CHAFFIN HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH COMPUTER INVASION OF PRIVACY, BY CHECKING THERESA PARKERS COMPUTER FOR MESSAGES... Judge Jon "Bo" Wood has agreed to allow testimony about blood found on Theresa Parker's SUV, but refused to allow evidence gathered from the use of a cadaver dog... [Full article here]

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PARKER MURDER TRIAL GETS UNDER WAY IN WALKER COUNTY
Daily Citizen - Dalton,GA,
Josh O'Bryant, Walker County Messenger
August 17, 2009
[Excerpts] Public defender David Dunn told jurors Monday morning that the prosecution has “nothing” to convict accused murderer Sam Parker... Parker, a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department when his wife disappeared, was charged in February 2008 with her murder. Theresa, a dispatcher with Walker County 911, was in the process of divorcing Sam... [District attorney Leigh] Patterson said she will focus on those who knew and saw the couple shortly before Theresa disappeared. She said they will testify about Theresa’s view on her impending divorce and her fear of Sam... [Former Gatlinburg Resort,Black Bear Lodge employee Marcy] Simmons said she was taking a break outside when she saw Theresa pull up to park in front of the registration office on Saturday, March 17, 2007. Simmons said she saw a lone woman in her vehicle parking. She said Theresa was the only customer at that time to arrive... Simmons said Theresa was nicely dressed, attractive and kind, and checked into the Honeybee Hideaway... According to Simmons, she did not see her with anyone and she stayed at the lodge for two nights, Saturday and Sunday. PATTERSON ASKED SIMMONS IF SHE HAD RECEIVED A PHONE CALL DURING THAT TIME FROM LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER SAM PARKER, AND SIMMONS SAID “YES.” SIMMONS SAID SAM WANTED INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC RESERVATION. SIMMONS SAID SAM ASKED WHO HAD CHECKED IN IN THAT TIME FRAME AND SHE DID NOT IMMEDIATELY DISCLOSE THAT INFORMATION, WHICH SHE SAID AGGRAVATED SAM. SIMMONS SAID SHE ASKED TO SPEAK TO ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS TO CONFIRM THAT SAM WAS REALLY A POLICEMAN. AFTER SPEAKING TO TWO OTHER OFFICERS, SHE FAXED SAM THE RESERVATION RECEIPT AND THEN E-MAILED HER BOSS TO COVER HERSELF. ASKED WHAT SAM HAD SAID HE NEEDED THE INFORMATION FOR, SIMMONS SAID HE TOLD HER IT WAS FOR AN INVESTIGATION... LaFayette Police Department Lt. Kenneth Caureathers, who has been with the department for the past 39 years, took the stand. Patterson asked Caureathers if he had seen the reservation receipt that was faxed to Sam posted at the police department. Caureathers said, “Yes, I did,” but he could not recall what was written on it... He said Sam told him he had filed for divorce and Theresa didn’t want to agree to filing. He said that on Saturday, March 24, 2007, he and Sam talked about Theresa’s trip to Gatlinburg and Sam told him that she was there with somebody... Asked if Sam ever told him about coming into some money, Caureathers said, “Yes, he said that he was coming into a lot of money”... [PUBLIC DEFENDER] DUNN ASKED IF IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR SOME OFFICERS TO JOKE ABOUT HIDING A BODY AND AN OBJECTION WAS MADE AND SUSTAINED. [Full article here]

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NEIGHBOR SAYS SAM PARKER WAS ACTING NORMAL AROUND TIME PROSECUTORS SAY HE KILLED HIS WIFE
Neighbor In Fort Oglethorpe Saw Theresa Parker Pacing, Talking Loudly On Phone
The Chattanoogan
posted August 17, 2009
[Excerpts] A longtime neighbor of Sam Parker testified Monday that the one-time LaFayette Police sergeant was cutting up and acting normal around the time authorities say he killed his estranged wife, Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker... The witness [Cody Cordell], who was 16 at the time and is now 18, said, "They wasn't throwing rocks or anything. They was being nice"... RICHARD WILLIAMS, A LONGTIME FRIEND OF SAM PARKER WHO IS NOW WITH THE FORT OGLETHORPE POLICE DEPARTMENT, SAID HE GOT A CALL FROM PARKER ON MARCH 21, 2007. HE SAID THEY CHATTED FOR AWHILE, THEN PARKER ASKED HIM IF HE COULD FIND OUT WHERE HIS WIFE WAS MOVING IN FORT OGLETHORPE. HE SAID HE TOLD HIM HE WAS LEAVING FOR A FEW DAYS, BUT WOULD CHECK AT THE WATER COMPANY ON MONDAY... He said Parker told him that his father had recently died and left him some money and that Theresa wanted part of it. The witness said when he returned from his trip he heard on the news that Theresa Parker had disappeared. "I turned white as a sheet," he said. He said he went into the police station and his supervisor asked, "What's wrong? You're as white as a sheet"... GEORGIA HIGHWAY PATROLMAN ERIC TALLENT, who formerly worked for the Walker County Sheriff's Office, said on the night of March 21, 2007, he went out to eat with LaFayette Police Officer Ben Chaffin, who is slated to be the state's star witness... The witness [Patrolman Tallent] said he realized he had left some keys in Chaffin's car. He said he drove over to Chaffin's house shortly after midnight and retrieved the keys. He said the next night he stopped by the LaFayette Police Department and Chaffin came in. He said it was around 2:30 a.m. and Chaffin was off duty, but he said he "couldn't sleep." The witness said Chaffin "was kind of quiet. He didn't look like his normal self." LAFAYETTE POLICE LT. KENNY CARREATHERS said Sam Parker put a poster of a battered woman up on the door of his office. He said he thought it was in poor taste and he took it down. He said he was told that Parker didn't appreciate him removing it. He also said that Parker posted a receipt from Ms. Parker's visit to the Gatlinburg lodge at police headquarters. He said Parker told of coming into some money and planning to give $10,000 of it to Theresa. LT. CARREATHERS SAID ON MARCH 24, 2007, PARKER TOLD HIM HIS WIFE HAD BEEN MISSING FOR SEVERAL DAYS AND HE SAID HE WAS CONSIDERING FILING A MISSING PERSON'S REPORT. HE SAID HE ADVISED HIM TO DO SO. The witness said Parker referred to his wife as "the bitch." LAFAYETTE POLICE SGT. RANDY HICKS said Parker highlighted a section on the motel receipt that said there were two guests. He said Parker wrote on the receipt, "It's not been two weeks since my dad died and she did this." Prosecutor Patterson maintained that Ms. Parker was by herself at the Blackberry Lodge and went there to contemplate moving out on her own... PROSECUTOR PATTERSON TOLD OUT OF THE PRESENCE OF THE JURY OF AN INCIDENT WHEN SGT. HICKS AND HIS WIFE WENT TO THE PARKER HOME FOR DINNER. SHE SAID MRS. HICKS AND SAM PARKER GOT INTO A SPIRITED ARGUMENT ABOUT RELIGION, AND PARKER MAINTAINED THERE IS NO HEAVEN. THE PROSECUTOR SAID PARKER THEN TOSSED A CUP OF WATER ON MRS. HICKS, SAYING, "HERE'S YOUR HOLY WATER." SHE SAID BOTH OF THE WOMEN STARTED CRYING, AND THERESA PARKER SAID, "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE ANYBODY OVER." Judge Jon "Bo" Wood did not allow the testimony... [Full article here]

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CHAFFIN TO BE STAR WITNESS AGAINST SAM PARKER
Will Testify About Early-Morning Call About Murder Of Theresa Parker
The Chattanoogan
August 17, 2009
[Excerpts] Prosecutor Leigh Patterson told a jury on Monday morning that FORMER LAFAYETTE POLICE OFFICER BEN CHAFFIN will testify about an early-morning call he got from former co-worker [LaFayette Policel Sgt.] Sam Parker. She said the call will deal with the mysterious disappearance of Theresa Parker in March 2007... Ms. Patterson, who is the DA at Rome, Ga., said Parker was jealous of his wife, who had decided to divorce him and was in the process of moving out... SHE SAID PARKER ALSO GOT CHAFFIN TO CHECK MS. PARKER'S COMPUTER TO SEE IF IT REVEALED ANYTHING ABOUT THE TRIP TO THE SMOKIES. She said Ms. Parker decided during the trip to divorce her husband, and she had gotten a new residence in Fort Oglethorpe. SHE SAID THE LAST TIME SHE WAS HEARD FROM SHE HAD GONE TO THE COUPLE'S HOUSE ON CORDELL ROAD IN LAFAYETTE LATE ON THE NIGHT OF MARCH 21, 2007, TO GET ANOTHER LOAD TO MOVE. SHE SAID SAM PARKER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AT HIS LATE FATHER'S HOUSE IN TRION, BUT HE ACTUALLY WAS AT THE CORDELL ROAD HOUSE. SHE SAID A 911 DISPATCHER WHO WORKED WITH MS. PARKER GOT A CALL FROM HER PHONE AND ASKED TWO OFFICERS TO GO CHECK ON HER. She said they could not get anyone to the door, but did see Sam Parker's truck and police cruiser there and Ms. Parker's 4Runner missing from the garage. Public defender David Dunn said Chaffin agreed to testify after the prosecution "manipulated" him by charging him with several crimes... He said the search for Ms. Parker "was the most massive in the history of North Georgia and probably the whole state of Georgia." MS. PATTERSON TOLD THE JURY, "I FEEL CONFIDENT I CAN CARRY THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN THIS CASE." SHE SAID THE 41-YEAR-OLD MS. PARKER WAS "A DAUGHTER, A SISTER, A MUCH-LOVED AUNT TO MANY NIECES AND NEPHEWS AND A DEAR FRIEND TO MANY." SHE SAID SAM PARKER "DEPRIVED HER OF THE NEW LIFE SHE WAS TRYING TO START." The prosecutor said since her disappearance there has been no activity in her bank account or on her credit cards and she didn't pick up her last check. She also said her loved ones and friends have received no more calls from her. Ms. Patterson said Ms. Parker was a quiet and private person, but she did tell some others of problems she had during her 13-year marriage. She said the couple was on-again, off-again, but Ms. Parker decided the previous fall to get a divorce. She said she held off because Mr. Parker's father was very ill at the time. She said Ms. Parker decided to proceed with the divorce after the father died in early 2007... Ms. Patterson said at that time Sam Parker "realized she's leaving. It was actually becoming real to him." She said on March 21 when Ms. Parker was moving out that Sam Parker turned up at the house on Cordell Road. She said a neighbor, Cody Cordell, saw him when he cut their yard. She said Parker went next door and had a conversation with Virginia Cordell. She said a deposition was taken from Ms. Cordell about that conversation because she was ill. She has since died, but the testimony will be presented to the jury. MS. PATTERSON SAID THERE WAS A CALL FROM MS. PARKER'S CELL PHONE TO HER 911 CO-WORKER, RHONDA KNOX, AT 12:35 A.M., BUT NO ONE WAS ON THE LINE. THE PROSECUTOR SAID SHE BELIEVES THAT WAS ABOUT THE TIME THAT SAM PARKER WAS KILLING HIS WIFE. SHE SAID IT LIKELY OCCURRED WITHIN THAT HOUR. SHE SAID SAM PARKER SHOWED UP AT THE RESIDENCE OF A FEMALE ACQUAINTANCE, CHRISTY BELLFLOWER, AT 1:40 A.M. AND SPENT THE NIGHT THERE UNTIL ABOUT 6 A.M. SHE SAID IT WAS AT 4:05 A.M. WHEN HE MADE A BRIEF CALL TO BEN CHAFFIN. SHE SAID THERE ALSO WERE A COUPLE MORE PHONE CALLS DURING THE NIGHT FROM SAM PARKER'S PHONE. SHE SAID PARKER WAS SUPPOSED TO MEET HIS DIVORCE ATTORNEY, BILL SLACK, AT 7:35 THAT MORNING, BUT HE DID NOT SHOW UP UNTIL 8 A.M. SHE SAID THE TWO THEN WENT FISHING ALL DAY. SHE SAID THE ATTORNEY TOLD OF SAM PARKER FALLING ASLEEP IN THE FISHING BOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE AT SUMMERVILLE. THE PROSECUTOR SAID MS. KNOX ASKED OFFICERS SHANE GREEN AND COREY GRIFFIN TO CHECK ON MS. PARKER THAT MORNING BECAUSE SHE WAS WORRIED AFTER THE STRANGE CALL. THEY FIRST WENT TO A HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET, THEN WERE DIRECTED TO THE RIGHT HOUSE. THAT IS WHEN THEY COULD NOT GET ANYONE TO THE DOOR AND SAW THAT THE TOYOTA 4RUNNER WAS MISSING. MS. PATTERSON SAID IT WAS LATER FOUND THAT THE 4RUNNER HAD BEEN CLEANED BY SOMEONE AND THAT A FLOOR MAT WAS MISSING. SHE SAID TWO SPOTS OF BLOOD WERE FOUND ON THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE, INCLUDING ONE WITH HER BLOOD AND THE OTHER WITH HER BLOOD AND SAM PARKER'S DNA. Attorney Dunn said Sam Parker had been a respected police officer for 26 years and before that was a Marine for six years. He said his father was a medic on the beaches of Normandy... [Full article here]

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"...his father was a medic on the beaches of Normandy..." ???

Pshhh. Mm.

Recalling older info:
...[YOU DID NOT KILL HER?]
"NO! NO NO NO NO NO.
SHE GOT CAUGHT IN A MESS
--- AND IMPLODED.
.."

Sam Parker was fired from LaFayette Police Department three weeks after Theresa's disappearance when explosives were found in his work locker.
They were not police explosives.

Previous entries on the blog:
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder georgia [ga] abuse of power lieutenant surprise witness sergeant]

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