The Brett Parker murder trial got off to a rocky start Thursday, with the judge removing Parker's father from court and an alternate juror failing to show.
The double-murder trial of Brett Parker — the Irmo man accused in the shooting deaths of his wife, Tammy Jo Parker, and friend, Bryan Capnerhurst — was delayed for at least an hour while Judge DeAndrea Benjamin tackled the issues with the jurors.
Two jurors sent Judge DeAndrea Benjamin a note claiming a man — they later described as Brett Parker's father, Jack Parker — asked them if they would be sequestered, several media outlets reported.
Prosecutors asked that Jack Parker be held in contempt of court, but Benjamin said she would decide contempt later and removed him from the courtroom.
Benjamin said Jack Parker, who is a witness for the defense, will be allowed to return to court to testify, according to a report from The State (subscription required).
Brett Parker's attorney David Fedor said the man jurors described was not Jack Parker and that he found the person who spoke to them.
Benjamin has not decided on whether Jack Parker can attend the trial other than when called as a witness.
During Thursday's testimony, prosecutors introduced photographs of the bodies of Brett Parker's wife, Tammy Jo Parker, and friend, Bryan Capnerhurst as well as the guns used to kill the two.
A Richland County Sheriff's crime scene investigator — the only witness to testify Thursday — said a .410-caliber Taurus Judge revolver with four of its five rounds spent was found in the downstairs family room of the Parkers' Tackeria Court home, according to The State.
A 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with one bullet left in its magazine was also found in the home — this one near Bryan Capnerhurst's body in the attic.
Prosecutors said Brett Parker shot his wife five times — four times in the body and one shot to her head. They also said he shot Capnerhurst with the .410-caliber Taurus Judge revolver four times, with the fatal shots to the head and chest.
The shootings on April 13, 2012, prosecutors said, was part of a plan for Brett Parker to collect more than $1 million in insurance money to pay off his gambling debt and get out of his marriage to Tammy Jo Parker.
The defense has denied the prosecution's claims saying Brett Parker acted in self-defense when he shot Capnerhurst.
The trial will resume Monday at 9:30 a.m.
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