COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An Irmo man accused of killing his wife and a man owed $20,000 by his sports betting ring is invoking South Carolina’s “stand your ground” self-defense law.
Brett Parker’s attorney, Dave Fedor, argued in a court motion Friday that Parker can’t be prosecuted because of the state law allowing a person who fears for his life to use deadly force. A similar law in Florida gained notoriety during the coverage of the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Parker has said that Bryan Capnerhurst, 46, came to his $760,000 home and shot his 44-year-old wife, Tammy, in an upstairs room. Brett Parker said after hearing the shots he ran upstairs and was confronted by Capnerhurst, who pointed a gun at him and ordered him to get money from a safe in the room. Parker said he knelt down, grabbed a gun hidden on top of the safe, and fatally shot Capnerhurst.
But authorities say forensic testing, cellphone records, surveillance video and other evidence don’t back up Parker’s story.
Prosecutors say Parker killed his wife to try to collect more than $1 million in insurance money and retirement accounts. Investigators say Parker ran a gambling operation from his home and Capnerhurst came to the house to collect about $20,000 from bets.
Three men have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty last year to running a gambling operation that collected thousands of dollars a day. Eleven other men have been arrested as Richland County sheriff’s deputies investigate the sports betting operation that was revealed after the double homicide last April.
Brett Parker faces a federal charge of operating an illegal gambling business. He could face the death penalty if convicted of double murder.
The “stand your ground” motion will delay the trial scheduled to start May 6. The motion will have to be heard by a judge, Fedor said, and the subsequent ruling could then be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
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