Brett Parker, father, clerk sentenced for running sports gambling ring

nophillips@thestate.comDecember 18, 2013 

Jack Parker, the father of Irmo bookie Brett Parker, needed to spend time in federal prison because he was the head of two generations of illegal sports gambling, a federal prosecutor said.

“Brett Parker is here before us today because he is Jack Parker’s son,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday.

U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie on Wednesday sentenced Jack Parker to five months in federal confinement, plus three years of probation, with the first five months on home detention and electronic monitoring. He also must pay a $3,000 fine on top of surrendering a bank account worth more than $67,000.

The Parkers and their gambling associate, Douglas E. Taylor, were convicted in September after a two-day jury trial for running an illegal gambling business. The case was part of the fallout of the 2011 killings of Brett Parker’s wife, Tammy Jo Parker, and Bryan Capnerhurst, his gambling clerk.

Wearing a tan prison jumpsuit, a handcuffed and shacked Brett Parker received the stiffest sentence after he was described by Holliday as the leader of the sports betting business.

Currie gave Brett Parker two years in federal prison, which he would serve should he ever be released from the S.C. Department of Corrections. He is serving two life sentences without parole for killing his wife and the gambling clerk.

Taylor, who worked for Jack Parker, received three years of probation, plus eight months of home confinement with electronic monitoring. He also must pay a $3,000 fine.

The sentencing wrapped up a 20-month drama surrounding the murders. The gambling case would not have existed if Brett Parker had not killed his wife and betting clerk, Currie said.

In her remarks, Currie noted there were many gambling victims, including families. Some gamblers spent $2,000 to $3,000 a week to bet on football, basketball and baseball, and it was clear they held jobs that did not generate that much income, she said.

“The number of bets they placed each week was just staggering,” Currie said. “They very rarely won. It seemed to be an incredibly poor choice.”

She went on to say, “I always thought gamblers were addicted because they won enough to be addicted, but that didn’t appear to be the case.”

Brett Parker attempted to speak in court, but his words largely were incoherent, especially after he began crying.

His defense attorney, Kathy Evatt., finished for him, saying, “He would like to ask mercy for his father because his mother and father have custody of his two small children.”

Jack and Linda Parker are raising their grandchildren, Brooke, 15, and Zack, 7. Because of them, Jack Parker and his lawyers tried to convince Currie to refrain from sending him to prison. They presented 20 letters of support from family and friends, including S.C. Rep. Jimmy Bales, D-Richland and former S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

Jack Parker, 72, said he was sorry for what had happened to his family.

“One of the toughest things is to see my son come out in shackles,” he said. “It pains me. If I’m part of that, I definitely apologize.”

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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