Attorney: Parker can't afford appeal

Brett Parker (South Carolina Department of Corrections)
Brett Parker (South Carolina Department of Corrections)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Attorneys for convicted double murderer Brett Parker say he is broke and cannot pay for the necessary documents to file an appeal.

Parker tried to convince a jury he was not a cold-hearted killer, but a victim forced to defend himself in a desperate situation. It didn't work, and a jury last week spent less than three hours before pronouncing the former bookie guilty on two counts of murder.

As expected, Parker's attorneys have filed notice of an upcoming appeal, but they say it's likely one of the last actions they will do on behalf of their client.

Dave Fedor, one of Parker's two trial attorneys, said Friday proceeding ahead with the appeal would mean Parker and his legal representation would need the entire transcript of the very complicated trial, which would cost up to $40,000.

According to Fedor, Parker is "absolutely indigent" and does not have the money required to carry out an appeal.

Parker's other trial attorney, Marc Whitlark, says his client will now have to take steps to declare himself indigent. That will likely happen within the next 30 days, according to Whitlark.

The case would then be handled by the South Carolina Division of Appellate Defense, a team of attorneys who represent defendants in criminal appeals to the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Fedor and Whitlark have confirmed a number of points that could form the basis for that appeal.

First, they say the state had insufficient evidence, almost all of it circumstantial.

Fedor says Judge DeAndrea Benjamin should have issued a directed verdict after the prosecution ended its case, Fedor saying there was "no proof whatsoever" Parker fired the handgun that killed his wife Tammy Jo.

The defense says there was evidence shooting victim Bryan Capnerhurst had gunshot residue on his hands and that sheriff's investigators erred in taking a gun from Capnerhurst's left hand. Investigators also failed to photograph the gun before it was removed, Fedor and Whitlark said.

Fedor also complained Richland County's chief medical examiner showed a lack of knowledge of human anatomy and medical terms.

And the defense says the judge made a mistake by refusing a continuance after prosecutors turned over critical gunshot analysis information two weeks before trial.

Parker is currently incarcerated at the Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center on Broad River Road. He has not yet been assigned to a permanent corrections facility.

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