Parker’s trial began Monday in Walker County Superior Court in downtown LaFayette before Judge Jon “Bo” Wood. Parker is accused of killing his wife, Theresa Parker, who has been missing since March 21, 2007 and whose body has not been found.
“What have they found? Nothing,” Dunn said in opening arguments shortly after proceedings began at 9:30 a.m.
“You’ve heard it will take three weeks (for this trial). But if you look at the evidence, or lack thereof, you could be out of here in three days,” Dunn said.
The jury, consisting of nine women and six men (including three alternates), was picked last week from Bartow County. It is not being sequestered. The jurors will be bused to and from Bartow each day.
Parker, a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department when his wife disappeared, was charged in February 2008 with her murder. Theresa, a dispatcher with Walker County 911, was in the process of divorcing Sam.
District attorney Leigh Patterson, in her opening statements, said, “Theresa Parker was much more than a few lines on a police report.”
Patterson said she will focus on those who knew and saw the couple shortly before Theresa Parker disappeared. She said they will testify about Theresa’s view on her impending divorce and her fear of Sam.
Testimony began Monday morning with a focus on Theresa Parker’s trip to a Gatlinburg, Tenn., resort. Two former employees of Black Bear Lodge, a resort in Gatlinburg, testified about handling Theresa’s reservation on March 17, 2007.
The first witness was Sarah Mustar of Tennessee. Mustar said she took Theresa Parker’s initial reservation for the Honeybee Hideaway cabins.
She said Theresa Parker sounded tired. “She told me she needed a break. She said, ‘I need to get away. I need a break,’” Mustar said.
The next witness to the stand was Marcy Simmons, a former employee at the Black Bear Lodge, who testified that she was taking a break outside when she saw Theresa pull up to park in front of the regis-tration office alone.
According to Simmons, she did not see her with anyone, and she stayed at the lodge for two nights, Saturday and Sunday.
Simmons also testified that she had received a phone call during that time from LaFayette Police Department officer Sam Parker, who specifically asked about his wife’s reservation for “an investigation.”
LaFayette Police Department Lt. Kenneth Caureathers, who has been with the department for the past 39 years, took the stand and testified to speaking with Sam Parker about his pending divorce and Theresa’s trip to Gatlinburg, saying Sam told Caureathers that Theresa was there with somebody.
Caureathers also testified that Sam Parker told him he’d filed a missing person report and that Parker told him he would be coming into “a lot of money” and that it would be $10,000.
After the lunch break, the murder trial for Parker resumed with a new slate of witnesses, including a teenager who cared for the Parkers’ lawn who spoke with Theresa on March 21, 2007, as she was moving from her residence. He said he has not seen her since.
He added that, on that date, Sam told him he and Theresa had all their issues resolved and decided to go their separate ways and that the couple never engaged in an argument while he was there.
Other witnesses testifying were a neighbor, former co-workers of Sam Parker, and friends.
The trial continues today.