Alleged gambling ring

Jury seated in Brett Parker federal gambling trial

nophillips@thestate.comAugust 22, 2013 

— A jury has been chosen for the September federal gambling trial of Irmo bookie Brett Parker, his father and a third man.

Brett Parker, Jack Parker and Douglas E. Taylor are accused of running an illegal gambling operation. To prove them guilty, Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday must show the ring involved five or more people, operated for 30 or more consecutive days and had a gross revenue of more than $2,000 on any given day.

The trial is set for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Matthew J. Perry federal courthouse. It is expected to last a week.

“We’ve picked a jury and we’re getting focused and ready for trial,” said Tivis Sutherland, Taylor’s defense attorney.

Brett Parker was convicted in May in Richland County circuit court on two counts of murder. He shot and killed his wife, Tammy Jo Parker, and then tried to frame his betting clerk, Bryan Capnerhurst, for his wife’s death before also shooting him.

In that trial, Parker admitted he was a bookie but tried to pin blame for the shootings on Capnerhurst, who he said was trying to rob the couple of their gambling income.

Holliday wants to name Capnerhurst and Tammy Jo Parker as the fourth and fifth members of the illegal sports betting operation.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie ruled that Holliday cannot bring up the murders during the federal trial. She also was reluctant to allow him to introduce Tammy Jo Parker’s personal budget notes as evidence but said she would reconsider during the trial.

Currie also warned attorneys to be careful during jury selection as they try to determine how much potential jurors know about the murders. They must balance being able to ask jurors what they know without revealing too much information about the murder convictions.

“We always think people pay attention to the news and then find out they really don’t,” Currie said.

Attorneys can ask potential jurors if they recognize names, Currie said.

“There will be other people who don’t recognize the name, but three days into the trial a light’s going to come on and they’re going to know what this is about,” she said.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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