UPDATE 3 p.m.: Three additional suspects were arrested Friday by the Richland County Sheriff's Department: Clarence Carroll, 72, Gregory Dority, 30, and Joseph Watson, 31.
The fallout from a high-profile double homicide in the Irmo area continued this week with the Richland County Sheriffs Department arresting nine people who are accused of sports gambling.
More people are expected to turn themselves into the sheriffs department in the next few days, said Capt. Chris Cowan, a sheriffs spokesman. Each is being charged with misdemeanor gambling for allegedly placing bets with a sports book operated by Brett Parker, 42, of Irmo.
Two sports betting rings, including one operated by Parker, were uncovered last spring after his wife and another man were shot to death in the Parkers Irmo-area home. Parker is slated to stand trial in May on two counts of murder. He also faces a federal charge of operating an illegal gambling business.
Sheriff Leon Lott said those who are being charged needed to be held accountable for their participation in a destructive business. The gamblers were betting hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.
Were talking about big money, Lott said. This was not a $5 bet on whos going to win a ball game.
Without people willing to place high-dollar bets, Parkers gambling operation never would have existed, Lott said.
I didnt think it was right to ignore them, he said. There is a lot of destruction that goes on with these gambling operations. Its not a victimless crime.
Tammy Jo Parker, 44, and 46-year-old Bryan Capnerhurst of Batesburg-Leesville were found dead April 13 inside the Parkers upscale Irmo-area home.
Parker has told police that Capnerhurst came to his house to settle a sports bet and went upstairs to wait. Thats when Parker said he heard gunshots and ran upstairs to see what was happening.
Parker said he found his wife dead on the floor and that Capnerhurst pointed a gun at him. Brett Parker said he was able to retrieve his gun from the top of a safe and fire on Capnerhurst.
In the minutes after the April 13 shooting, that version of events was reported to the media by the Richland County Sheriffs Department. However, the sheriffs department retracted it.
Since then, prosecutors in the 5th Circuit Solicitors Office have said Brett Parker stood to collect on a $1.1 million insurance policy for his wifes death and that he had concocted a robbery story.
A coroners report said Tammy Parker and Capnerhurst died from multiple gunshot wounds. And Lott has said two guns were used.
Parker, through his attorney, has admitted to being involved with gambling but is sticking to his story about the killings.
Last month, Brett Parker, his 71-year-old father, Jack Parker of Chapin, and 60-year-old Douglas E. Taylor of Batesburg-Leesville each were charged with one count of conducting an illegal gambling business by federal authorities. They are awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in Columbia.
Parkers gambling operation was sophisticated, Lott said as he noted that sports bookies no longer carry little notebooks with names and financial figures. Instead, most of the bets were tracked on computers.
Investigators began looking into files to find gamblers names, Lott said.
The sheriff said he has spoken with wives and other family members of gamblers who have described deep addictions that cost families thousands of dollars. He said he hopes those who have been caught up in the ring get treatment.
Thats what bookies rely on is that addiction, Lott said. They make money off that.
The second ring exposed by the deaths of Tammy Parker and Capnerhurst was led by a Lexington County businessman who helped Brett Parker get started in the business.
Earlier this year, Lanny Ray Gunter II, 43, was sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home incarceration and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for being the financier behind a sports betting business. His partners, Harry Benenhaley, 66, of Columbia, and Ronald Dale Spence, 61, of Irmo, each received five years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and were ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.
During Gunters sentencing hearing, prosecutors said he had qualified for a reduced sentence because he helped in the Parker murder case. Gunter said Brett Parker had admitted to an affair and had confessed to wanting out of his marriage four months before his wife and Capnerhurst were killed.
The Gunter and Parker gambling operations were connected, police have said. Gunter had loaned Parker money to start his sports book and offered assistance setting lines for the bets. Parker owed Gunter $176,000 in gambling debts from two accounts, according to court testimony.
Alleged gamblers arrested
Nine people have been arrested on a misdemeanor gambling charge. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said each of them placed sports bets with Brett Parker, an Irmo man who is awaiting trial on two murder charges. The sports betting ring was uncovered after Parkers wife and another man were found shot to death in the Parkers home. More arrests could follow, authorities said.
Dudley Sanford, 54
Donald Shadel, 67
Otis Culclasure, 45
Trent Crider, 44
Matthew Baughman, 42
Harold Saxby, 52
Charles Peele, 78
Timothy Boan, 58
Ian Cook, 28
Source: Richland County Sheriffs Department
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.