published Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Parker trial turns media spotlight on Walker County

by Chloé Morrison

Article: Parker niece: 'She was the glue in the family'

Article: Theresa Parker laid to rest

Article: Crowds gather to grieve with Parker family

Article: Funeral services set for slain Walker County dispatcher Theresa Parker

Article: GBI confirms Parker was a homicide victim

Article: Examination of Parker bones complete

Article: Examination of Parker’s remains complete

Article: Keychain led to ID of Parker

Article: Theresa Parker's remains finally found

Video: Theresa Parker's body found

Article: Family relieved that Theresa Parker's remains have been found, sheriff says

Article: Find brings back ‘hurt’

Slideshow: Theresa Parker's remains finally found

Article:Parker trial turns media spotlight on Walker County

Article: Jury deliberations continue in Parker slaying trial

Article: Testimony gives insight into culture of police

Article: Parker chooses not to testify

Article: State rests its case against former officer Sam Parker

Article: Witnesses testify to violence, threats by Sam Parker

Article: Officers express doubts on Parker

Article: Friend says Parker acted normal on trip

Article: Cadaver dogs out of Parker trial

Article: Friend asked deputies to check on Mrs. Parker

Article: Judge keeps Parker in jail

Article: Chattanooga: Judge denies separation of charges for Parker

PDF: Indictment against Sam Parker and motions from defense lawyers and prosecutors

Article: Georgia: Sam Parker talks about life in jail

Article: Investigators use robotic camera to search well, Blue Hole for clues or body of Theresa Parker

Judge denies bond for Sam Parker

Parker bond pending judge’s decision

Parker facing more charges

Husband arrested in missing dispatcher case

Walker County 911 dispatcher missing since March 21

International investigator, K-9 dog join Parker search

Dispatcher's family plans vigil to keep search alive

Officer to face extradition on charges in missing dispatcher case

LaFayette Police officer fired for having explosives

Sheriff starts tip line for Parker case

Dispatcher's family tries to move on as questions persist

Message boards new turf in Parker case

Missing dispatcher fundraiser planned

New prosecutor accepts missing woman case

Missing woman's husband fired

Dispatcher's friend keeps busy with vigils, fundraisers

Family of missing woman announces launch of Web site

Theresa Parker family creates Web site

Illinois case mirrors Parker's

Mrs. Parker's 911 job filled

LaFayette officer suspended without pay

Husband of missing dispatcher Theresa Parker says he's been singled out unfairly

Search continues for dispatcher

LaFayette officer charged with making false statements in Parker investigation

When a loved one is missing

Pond draining comes up empty

Authorities draining pond in dispatcher search

Benefit for missing woman seeks smiles

Lawyer to Parker: Stop talking

LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Longtime resident Gerald Gravitt said his city doesn't get major media attention, for the most part.

"Unless something like this happens," he said, standing outside the Walker County Courthouse and awaiting a verdict in the Sam Parker murder trial. "(The media attention) brings more excitement."

Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police officer, is charged with killing his wife, Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker. Mr. Parker has pleaded not guilty.

The trial began Aug. 17 and the case is now in the jury's hands.


Jurors in Sam Parker's murder case have come to a decision on three charges not related to murder, they told the judge Tuesday. The forewoman said they have verdicts on the charges of making false statements, computer invasion of privacy and violation of oath as a public officer.

On the charge of malice murder in the death of Theresa Parker, the forewoman said the jurors are split 4-8.

Deliberation continues today in Walker County Superior Court.

Mr. and Mrs. Parker were well-known in the community and, since both worked in public service, the case has drawn intense interest.

Media have come not only from Walker County, Chattanooga and Atlanta media outlets, but also from such national figures as CNN's Nancy Grace and Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.

During the trial Mr. Parker's lawyer, David Dunn, blamed assumptions of his client's guilt on the media attention.

Local officials said Mrs. Parker's disappearance in March, 2007, prompted the biggest search and murder investigation ever in Northwest Georgia. In the early days of the search about a dozen media outlets surrounded the Walker County Courthouse. Attention has ebbed and flowed over the last two years.

Some LaFayette residents this week said they aren't used to having reporters and television cameras camped out in their city. Others said they just ignore journalists' focus on their hometown.

Many said they are rapt in the case. Some took time off work over the last two weeks to see lawyers state their cases. Others stayed up late to watch the trial when it was replayed on Fort Oglethorpe's UCTV-3 TV station.

LaFayette resident Judy Howard she has come to the courthouse to watch the trial since its second day.

"From Day Two I was hooked," she said. "It's like a book: Once you start reading you can't stop."

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said Tuesday that the only event that brought more media attention to the county was the 2002 Tri-State Crematory case.

Brent Marsh, operator of the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, was accused of accepting money for hundreds of cremations that were never performed. Bodies in various states of decomposition were found all over his property. Mr. Marsh is serving a 12-year prison sentence in Georgia.

Sheriff Wilson said media outlets surrounded the courthouse during the crematory case.

"It was something to be seen," he said.

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