COLUMBIA — A Columbia man tried to pin the killing of his wife on his partner in an illegal gambling business by shooting his colleague to death in their expensive suburban Columbia home and then claiming he was defending himself from a robbery, authorities said.
Richland County deputies have charged 42-year-old Brett Parker with two counts of murder Friday after a more than three-month investigation, Sheriff Leon Lott reported.
Parker knew his partner in the gambling business was coming over to collect a $20,000 payment on April 13 and tried to stage a robbery, according to arrest warrants.
Parker’s 44-year-old wife, Tammy, was shot first, then Parker picked up another gun to kill 46-year-old Brian Capnerhurst, Lott said.
The sheriff said Parker told investigators the day of the shooting that Capnerhurst was trying to rob him and killed his wife, so he shot him four times and hasn’t changed his story since.
But forensic testing, phone records, surveillance video and other evidence doesn’t back Parker’s story, according to the arrest warrants.
“His story was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It did not fit,” said Lott, who refused to give details about the evidence.
The sheriff declined to talk about why Parker would have wanted to kill his wife.
Parker’s lawyer, David Fedor, didn’t respond to a phone message Friday, but in interviews after the shooting said Capnerhurst came to Parker’s home to get paid his part of the gambling proceeds, but his friend then shot his wife for some unknown reason. Parker was able to get a gun from on top of a safe and shoot Capnerhurst, his lawyer has said.
Parker and his wife lived in a home in a suburb northwest of Columbia that is on the market for $749,000.
There were rumors that the shooting might be part of a love triangle, but Lott said while Tammy Parker knew about her husband’s gambling business, Capnerhurst was only an acquaintance.
The couple had two children who were in school when the shooting happened.
The usually media-savvy Lott never spoke to reporters at length about the case until Friday.
Lott said he had nothing to say until all the evidence came in and he and his investigators could come to a conclusion on how the events of that day unfolded.
“I think people get used to us solving murder cases in hours,” Lott said.
“This one just took longer.”
The Secret Service is continuing to investigate the gambling business, but no arrests have been made, Lott said.
Parker is being held in the Richland County jail.
A bond hearing has not been set.