Brett Parker sentenced to life in prison for murder

Families of Tammy Jo Parker and Bryan Capnerhurst react after the verdict was read. (Source: Jack Kuenzie)
Families of Tammy Jo Parker and Bryan Capnerhurst react after the verdict was read. (Source: Jack Kuenzie)
Brett Parker's family reacts. (Source: Jack Kuenzie)
Brett Parker's family reacts. (Source: Jack Kuenzie)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Brett Parker will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his wife and best friend inside his home in April 2012.

Judge DeAndrea Benjamin sentenced Parker to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole Tuesday night for the murders of Tammy Jo Parker, 44, and Bryan Capnerhurst, 46.

"I hope that during this time you'll have an opportunity to reflect on everything that has happened in the past three weeks and the past 13 months," said Benjamin shortly after sentencing Parker.

The jury delivered the guilty verdicts after approximately three hours of deliberations.

Brett Parker's daughter and family wept in the courtroom shortly after the verdict was read.

On the other side of the courtroom, "God is good" was overheard.

Parker himself sat stone-faced during the reading of the verdict and in the moments after.

After sentencing, Tammy Jo's mother said she felt relieved. "I loved him, I really did. Until he murdered my daughter. Now, I have no use for him," said Libby Carswell. "God is good, that's all I can say."

"He took two great people away from us so let him spend the rest of his life in prison," said Tammy Jo's cousin Betty Webb. "She was an angel."

A family friend of Brett Parker said the sentence does not reflect the crime. "I believe Brett's innocent and I didn't believe that until the prosecution rested their case," said Kim Short.

Earlier in the day, the state argued that Parker plotted the murders of Tammy Jo and Bryan Capnerhurst.

Fifth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Luck Campbell said Tuesday the case initially looked like self-defense with a "bizarre twist." Prosecutors spent the better part of the trial attempting to prove to the jury that Parker shot Tammy Jo multiple times and then killed Capnerhurst as he arrived at the home for a planned meeting on Friday April, 13, 2012.

The defense disagreed with that conclusion, attempting to paint a picture of a good man who was defending himself during a robbery.

Parker's attorneys said the defendant was not smart enough to pull off such a crime. Dave Fedor told the jury Tuesday that Parker was "no Einstein." He asked the jury to send the admitted bookie back home "with his reputation as a good man."

Campbell later said the defense claim that Parker was too stupid to pull it off is just not true. She said he's "too stupid to get away with it."

Parker himself on Friday said he's a victim and that he still loves his late wife. "I would never hurt Tammy, never have."

Parker's attorneys say they will appeal the ruling.

Brett Parker still faces gambling charges in federal court with his father, Jack Parker, and another man.

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