Detectives say it was a case of sports betting that gambled away two lives.
Brett Parker, whom Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott called a bookie, was charged Friday with two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife and a family friend who Lott said helped Parker with his longtime gambling operation.
Parker, 42, is accused of shooting Tammy Jo Parker, 44, and Bryan C. Capnerhurst, 46, with different guns in an upscale Irmo home on Friday, April 13.
Parker has said consistently through his lawyer that Capnerhurst killed Tammy Parker and he fired in self-defense when Capnerhurst turned the gun on him.
His story is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, Lott said, citing forensic evidence he would not release. It just didnt fit. We have enough evidence to prove that Brett Parker killed two people.
Still, it took detectives more than three months to file charges. After saying little publicly while rumors swirled in the community, Lott said, Today, I can talk about facts.
However, Lott would not discuss why Parker would kill his wife, beyond saying the case was connected to gambling.
Parkers attorney, Dave Fedor, said after the arrest that his clients version of events has not changed.
He completely declares his innocence and has always said he did not harm anyone in any way, shape or form, Fedor said.
At trial, the case will come down to Who do you believe? Fedor said. Asked if that means his client, the only survivor of the shooting, will take the stand, the lawyer said, Thats going to be up to him.
In announcing the arrest 90 minutes after Parker turned himself in at sheriffs department headquarters, Lott declared, Some people say that gambling is a victimless crime. But I think if you ask the children of Tammy Parker, her parents and her friends, as well as Bryan Capnerhursts family, theyll tell you there are victims associated with gambling.
The Parkers have two children. One is a preschooler and the other, a young teenager.
Among the new information Lott released is:
• A U.S. Secret Service investigation of the largely college and professional sports gambling operation has been under way since the day of the shootings. The Sheriffs Department requested the probe.
Tammy Parker knew of her husbands illegal business. But the sheriff, leaving the details to federal investigators in the ongoing case, did not say she was part of the gambling operation.
• Each of the victims as well as Brett Parker had gunshot residue on their hands, a complicating factor in the case.
• Some physical evidence was examined by out-of-state specialists whom Lott would not identify.
• Rumors that the shooting was the result of a love triangle or anything other than the gambling operation are incorrect.
Members of Capnerhursts extended family traveled to Michigan this week for a memorial service Friday night in his suburban Detroit hometown. A Richland County officer called Capnerhursts stepson, Heyward Barnes, and told him of the arrest Friday, said Jim Headley, a family friend in Lexington.
According to the warrants, Parker shot his wife first at the couples $760,000 house at 12 Tackeria Court, a cul de sac in the Ascot Estates subdivision in the northwestern corner of the county.
Capnerhurst arrived at the house under what detectives said was Parkers pretense of having Capnerhurst pick up his share of the gambling profits, which on that day was about $20,000, Lott said. Parker summoned Capnerhurst so that Parker could stage what would look like a robbery that turned deadly, according to the warrants. Parker shot Capnerhurst four times, the documents allege.
Parker called 911, reported the midday shootings and was in the driveway unarmed when deputies arrived. The sheriffs department has withheld copies of the call. Autopsies found that both victims died of multiple gunshot wounds made by large-caliber guns. Both guns belonged to Brett Parker, who owned them legally, Lott said.
The sheriff described Parker and Capnerhurst as bookies, saying Capnerhurst worked for Parkers gambling business and routinely went to the Ascot Estates home to be paid, Lott said. Parker has run the operation for years, according to the sheriff.
Brett Parker sold medical supplies for Palmetto Home Medical. His wife sold pharmaceuticals and sang in a band.
Capnerhurst, a father of three, was assistant athletics director at the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, where he managed youth sports leagues.
Defense attorney Fedor had said earlier that his client told detectives he went into a bathroom and instructed Capnerhurst to go upstairs where Tammy Parker was. While in the bathroom, Brett Parker said he heard gunshots and raced upstairs. He discovered Capnerhurst had shot Tammy Parker and Capnerhurst turned the gun on him.
The sheriffs department has not released the caliber of the guns. It also has not said where the bodies were found or which weapon was used to shoot which victim.
The warrants assert that investigators can refute Parkers accounts through a combination of physical evidence, autopsy results, phone records, video recordings from outside the house and witness statements, among other information gathered during an extensive investigation.
Parker was booked into the Richland County jail Friday. A bond hearing is likely early next week because only a circuit court judge is empowered to decide whether to release a homicide defendant.
Staff writers Mindy Lucas and Joey Holleman contributed to this report. Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.