After the closing arguments, the jury began deliberations about 3:30 p.m. They requested print photos from Sam Parker’s fishing trip with Bill Slack, which included shots of bruises on Sam Parker’s arms.
The jury also asked for additional evidence to be added, such as pictures of the outside area of the Parker residence at 985 Cordell Ave., pictures of Sam Parker’s truck and driveway, and pictures of under the house, including all transcripts. Judge Jon “Bo” Wood declined the request and told the jury that no other pieces of evidence would be added.
Judge Wood dismissed court for the day shortly before 5 p.m. The jury will return Tuesday morning for further deliberation.
The jury was told not to discuss, research or talk about the case.
Here's a look at the closing arguments:
Defense's closing argument
Public defender David Dunn was first to give his closing statement, which lasted about an hour and 10 minutes.
Dunn told the jury to consider the unusual circumstances in the case.
He said the prosecution doesn’t have the evidence to convict Sam and that the prosecu-tion had “done their job” for the government.
Dunn said that the state works for the government, but he, as a public defender, works for the individual.
Dunn said that this case has had him to defend law enforcement, which is something that is new to him.
“They want you to believe that Sam Parker is a rogue cop,” Dunn told the jury about the prosecution.
Dunn said that the late LaFayette Police Chief Charles “Dino” Richardson is not here to defend himself.
“I am talking about evidence,” Dunn said, and reiterated that the state does not have enough evidence on Sam, nor the right to prosecute Sam.
“We could try this case in three days and we could have,” Dunn said.
Dunn said the state’s witnesses were all scripted and rehearsed.
Dunn said Sam’s former wife Keila Beard never included the abuse from Sam in her di-vorce documents.
Dunn said that it is almost impossible to defend Sam, being confronted with all hearsay and no hard evidence.
Dunn said Beard only complained about Sam pulling over her daughter, post-divorce, and not of the abuse.
Dunn said he had trouble comprehending that many people had “remarkable and similar stories.”
“Everyone of these folks has been massaged, manipulated and scripted,” Dunn said.
Dunn said the state was getting what it wanted on Sam by “laying out morsels of meat and what people wanted to hear.”
Dunn questioned how the jury could take Ben Chaffin’s testimony seriously, because he constantly changed his story.
Dunn said that the state was “TMSLB” — “Trashing to Make Sam Look Bad.”
Dunn said that, other than Chaffin’s questionable testimony, there is no direct evidence of what happened to Theresa Parker.
“That is why they need Ben Chaffin so badly, because that is all they got,” Dunn said. “Sam has maintained his innocence since day one,” Dunn said.
Dunn said Chaffin’s April 2007 interview with the GBI was when he was “scripted” and a “deal” was made, so that if Chaffin “followed the script, he walks away clean.”
Dunn said that the insidious part was that now Chaffin faces perjury, because he “devi-ated from the script,” and that does not guarantee for the truth.
“I submit to you folks that Ben Chaffin is the least credible testimony to have ever been given in that chair,” Dunn said.
Dunn said that, when government wants to prosecute someone, the result is that they have “a lot of folks guilty.”
Dunn said that the traces of blood of Sam and Theresa found on the bumper of Theresa Parker’s Toyota Forerunner cannot be determined as to when and how long it had been there.
“There is not fact, but only opinions, “Dunn said.
Dunn said that Rhonda Knox’s testimony shows she was confusing the color of Theresa’s back cargo mat with her own, showing her testimony was manipulated.
Dunn said all of the evidence against Sam is circumstantial.
Dunn said Shane Green’s proof of involvement is proven by phone records of calls be-tween he and Theresa and the 300 extra miles he logged during his patrol shift from March 21-22.
Dunn said that, if the state looked further into Shane Green, more answers would be there, but the state did not want to look into it any further, because it would take away at the state’s theory.
Dunn said that Martha Lewis’ testimony of seeing two men, who she said was not Sam, was doubt enough not to convict Sam and that no one knows who the two men are.
Dunn said that the additional charges on Sam are there because the state needed some-thing to “fall back on.”
“Unless you are convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt…. then you have to acquit,” Dunn said. “Follow the law and find Sam Parker not guilty.”
Prosecution’s closing argument
After a short recess, district attorney Leigh Patterson gave a 58-minute closing statement to the jury.
Patterson started by saying there were three days the defendant had to kill, clean up af-ter and get rid of Theresa Parker’s body.
She said Sam took an oath as an officer and violated it and murdered his wife.
“He had 72 hours to clean up the crime scene and he knew how to did it,” Patterson said of Sam and his numerous experiences with working around crime scenes.
Patterson’s ran through a timeline of Theresa’s known actions until the time she disap-peared, noting that she was in constant talk with her family and that she was in the process of moving into a new apartment, ready to start her life over.
“I submit to you that Theresa Parker was a normal person,” Patterson said.
Patterson said there has not been any activity on Theresa’s bank account and she has not contacted anyone since she disappeared.
“We submit to you that Theresa Parker is dead” and Sam Parker murdered her, Patterson said.
Patterson asked the jury to use common sense on the defense’s theories.
She said that Martha Lewis’ testimony of seeing two other men at the Parker residence the day Theresa went missing is not reasonable. Patterson said Lewis actually saw Cody and Sam.
Patterson then moved on to Shane Green’s involvement. Patterson said Shane Green did not kill Theresa Parker and he did not have an affair with her.
Patterson referred to Dunn calling Sam a “character” and Patterson said, “He (Sam) is a cockroach who runs when you turn the lights on.”
Patterson said Theresa went to Gatlinburg to relax, before she would later tell her hus-band she wanted a divorce and that she was leaving him.
“She had a few days of peace,” Patterson said.
Patterson said Theresa would later go home to tell her husband that she was leaving him and Patterson said, “Ladies and gentlemen, nobody leaves Sam Parker.”
Patterson told the jury about Sam investigating Theresa’s whereabouts, whom she may or may not been with in Gatlinburg, that “fuels” Sam’s paranoia that leads to her death.
Patterson said Sam hid the reservation receipt copy that was faxed by Black Bear Lodge to him (under his phony investigation) in her mail for her to find and calls her a “whore,” then he calls “everyone in Walker County” to question whom she might be seeing.
“In his mind she has betrayed him and there is not one shred of evidence that Theresa Parker was unfaithful to that man,” Patterson said.
Patterson recalls Virginia Cordell’s video deposition, in which Virginia said Sam told her, “If she (Theresa) would come outside, I would shoot her in the head,” referring to a conversation Sam had with Virginia about the reservation at the Black Bear Lodge.
Patterson said Sam’s phone calls were signaling off the LaFayette cell phone tower and that, on the late hours of March 21, he went home to “drink some liquid courage” and called Theresa at 12:45 p.m., luring her back home with a “false sense of security,” and then Sam called Christy Bellflower.
Patterson said that the next time anyone has a track on Sam was when Bellflower called him and he did not answer and that the time between 12:45 p.m. and 1:25 a.m. was unac-counted for Sam and his whereabouts.
Patterson said it took Sam 45 minutes to kill Theresa and he used her Toyota Forerun-ner’s back cargo mat to absorb the blood. He went by Bellflower’s as an alibi, all while Theresa Parker’s body is in the back of her Forerunner, she said.
Patterson said that Sam then called Chaffin and let Bellflower talk to him to cover his al-ibi.
Patterson said Sam lied to Bill Slack and that the time he was getting ready for fishing, he switched from the Forerunner, because he still had to get rid of her body and that Theresa’s body is somewhere at that time between LaFayette and Trion.
She said by 6 a.m. Sam already had her phone and was looking for the supposed guys whom she “betrayed him with.”
Patterson said Theresa’s phone, at this time, was bouncing off the Summerville tower (by records) around 6 a.m. when Rhonda Knox was calling her.
Patterson said Sam then cleaned up the Forerunner of her remains and vacuumed the back and got rid of the back cargo mat.
Patterson asked the jury why anyone would clean a vehicle while moving and that inves-tigators noticed that the back of the SUV was cleaned, but not the front part.
Patterson said that while Sam (5 days later) went to the hospital for a dislocated hip, it was from moving Theresa’s body and that testimonies were made about the scratches and bruises on Sam and she asked for the jury to use common sense, especially since he is saying “My dead wife, my dead wife.”
Patterson said that in Sam’s mind, he thinks, “If she was betraying him, then it’s her fault.”
Patterson then began to go over every action that witnesses testified about Sam’s threats and abuse, by starting off each one with saying, “This is the guy who ….”
Patterson reminded the jury that the reason Theresa’s family and Sam’s ex-wife did not call the police was “because, as they said, he was the police.”
Patterson ended by saying that Sam was the person Theresa Parker would come home to every night and that Theresa was almost out of the situation with Sam and was starting her life over again in a peaceful way.
Patterson asked the jury to “give her the peace she so desperately wanted.”