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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  October 13, 2019 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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heart wouldn't ever let her turn away a stray. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. ne." i'm craig melvin thank you for watching >> i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is dateline. >> i was shocked. things just didn't add up. >> it was the last place you would expect to find a gruesome crime scene. quite neighborhood. the lovely home. the friendly couple. >> it's hard not to love tammie. >> they were very happy. very happy. >> it seemed to be a simple case of a robbery gone horribly wrong. >> nothing about this case was simple. not the marriage and not the murders. >> just kept getting more red flags come up. >> the surprises just kept
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oncoming. >> he said can i talk to you in private. >> what dark force claimed two lives. >> i still feel her with me. >> hello and welcome to dateline. it was a quite afternoon at the parker house. she and her husband were both at home when suddenly gunfire erupted leaving two people dead and police racing to the scene. the soul survivor would share a tale describing an unlikely intruder and a desperate fight to survive. but what story would the evidence tell? here andrea cannon with mystery at ascot estates. >> life seems to move just a little slower in south carolina. afternoons in columbia can be
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spent on the river or nearby lake murray and tucked away inside this capital city is ascot estates where old sudden charm mingles with new money. not much in the way of drama here until april 2012, friday 13th, when something sinister happened. >> i turned on the news and saw there had been a double murder. >> you're confused because there's no way of knowing for sure what was going on. >> my husband called me and said something terrible had happened and i said what happened? >> what happened would become the center of a mystery. a who done it that began with a frantic 911 call. >> who shot your wife? >> a friend of mine. >> is he still there? >> the call came from a most unusual place. the gracious home of well liked husband and wife brett and
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tammie parker. the parkers were a golden couple each with their own special gifts. she was raised in a small town near columbia that left to go into sales where she was immediately successful. best friend angela leon. >> it's hard not to love tammie. she is vibrant and outgoing and full of life. full of energy. always positive. >> did she turn heads. >> tammie was the kind of person that she didn't even notice she was turning heads. >> during one of her sales calls she met the columbia business man ben staples and they became close friends. >> could she sell anything? >> she could sell anything. it's just her personality. everyone liked her. >> she had something else that set her apart. talent. >> i can't remember the first time i heard her sing but i was amazed. amazed at how great she was. >> tammie sang with a local
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band, jump start. >> voices like that are just gifts. somebody gives you that from above. >> friends thought she could take her talent big time but tammie seemed happy to remain in columbia. one of her giggs was at her friend's annual barbecue. >> she enjoyed this. tammie was an entertainer. she didn't just stand up there and sing. >> along the way in 1996, tammie met and married a local boy, brett parker. a medical supplies salesman. he had been a star athlete in high school. he was always throwing some kind of ball. >> he played football and softball. he was an all american kid. >> an injury sidelined any thoughts of a career in professional sports so he took up amateur softball. that's how he met one of his closest friends. >> he was one of the best
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softball players i ever played with. >> when tammie came into the picture he knew his friend found his match. >> i knew they were going to get married. it was just a matter of time. >> a lucky man in love. >> they were fun to be around. no doubt in my mind he loved her. >> both tammie's friends and brett's agreed. the couple clicked. >> they seemed to do well together. they had the same dreams and ambitions. >> did you like tammie? >> i loved her. >> they had two children born 8 years apart and in the spring of 2012 the family appeared to be living a charmed existence. then came the afternoon of april 13th and that call to 911. it was brett parker. >> get somebody over here. >> i need you to stay on the phone with me okay? >> tammie was dead and there was
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more, someone else lay dead in that house. it was a double murder. a cold blooded crime that would look more chilling with each new detail. >> coming up, who exactly was the friend who now lay dead inside the parker's house. >> the first question i asked him was what was this relationship with this man? and he said can i talk to you in private? >> when dateline continues. private? >> when dateline continues ♪ ♪ no matter how you stay fit keep it light with light & fit's rainbow of delightful, protein-packed flavors. ♪ ♪ thenot actors, people, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment
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this southern town had suddenly become the scene of a deadly crime. >> get somebody over here. >> okay. i need you to stay on the phone with me, okay? >> home security video shows brett parker calling 911 outside of his house, collapsing on the ground as he describes what happened. a violent robbery that left his wife dead. >> listen to me, i understand you are very upset but is your wife, is she breathing? >> no. >> and there was more to the story. brett had killed the perpetrator in self-defense. >> i shot him. i think i killed him. the veteran investigator headed to the scene. >> what was your first interaction with brett parker?
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>> heavy breathing. at one point in time he lays down on his back as if he's in almost pain. >> inside stan smith walked into a gruesome scene. the body of brett's wife tammie was in a bathroom and lying nearby was a man named brian dead in an alcove not far from the safe where brett kep his money. >> it appeared that she was seated at the desk, the office area and the shooter shot her from the back. as far as brian, he was found slumped over on his right side. he was shot multiple times in the face in the chest in the arm in the side in the legs, in the foot. >> the investigators were surprised when brett told them the man he had shot was a family friend and frequent visitor to the house.
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suddenly brett heard shots. >> he ran upstairs and was greeted at the top of the stairs by brian pulling a gun on him and ordered him to the safe. as he walked by the office he saw his wife's legs. he surmised then she had been shot. he was taken to this alcove area and on the way he realized he had a gun hidden on the safe in that area and he made a decision as he knelt at gun point to grab the gun and try to get to him before he shot him basically. >> so he turned around and caught brian off guard. >> that's how he explained it. >> by shooting him. >> he ran to check on his wife and realized that she was dead or dying and then he went and called 911. >> police recovered two guns from the scene.
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brett's resolvolver and in bria hand police found a .9 pistol used to kill tammie. near brian's body was his open gym bag with ammo and magazine clip clearly visible on top. to investigators it looked like brett parker fought for his life and fought a man in self-defense and had just lost his beautiful wife. the big question was why? why would such a good friend turn on them. >> one of the first questions i asked him was what was his relationship with this man and he said can i talk to you in private? >> on the side he had been a sports bookie for years. >> everybody knew that. >> did that concern you? >> every small town has a bookie. that's something i didn't even think about. >> he was not the sopranos break
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your legs style bookie. >> was he a gentle bookie? >> very. he was good. >> brett also told investigators that brian, the man he had just shot and killed was in the business too. as a matter of fact, he worked for brett. brian was also an unlikely bookie. a former high school athlete, he was a family man that worked for a county recreation commission and coached kids sports teams. tammie had spoken kindly of him. >> she thought he was a nice guy. she must have thought a lot because he was in her home with her children around and tammie was very protective of her children. >> he trusted her. >> right. tammie always looked out for him getting an extra lunch for him, taking care of him. >> but investigators found out there had bp a problem in that booky business and it all boiled down to money. brett owed brian a good chunk of the profits, $20,000 and he had
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been slow to pay up. >> brian was going to tell brett i've had enough excuses, i want my money. >> smith learned that brian had money problems. so it looked like he went to the parkers to demand money he was owed and take whatever else was in the safe. tammie had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> what do you miss most about tammie? >> her laugh. she could always call and make sure that we had girls nights out. we haven't done that since she was killed. >> it was all so sad. the parkers with their children just returned from a family cruise tanned and smiling. a relative on that cruise told brett's aunt it had been a wonderful trip. >> she said that was the happiest that she had seen brett and tammie. >> and now brett's fans saw a man in pain after losing his
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wife. >> he would just break down crying and he would cry all the time. >> as for shooting brian, he believed his friend did what he had to do. >> he din have a choice. it was either him or brian and that's the way he told us over and over, you know. >> to those grieving for tammie, it seemed that at least there had been some terrible justice for brian. >> people that loved tammie so much couldn't help but feel that he maybe -- many people thought he got what he deserved. >> investigators told reporters the tragic deaths were a result of a robbery gone bad. it seemed like a cut and dry case but things aren't always what they seem. >> was brett parker the loving husband he appeared to be? investigators were about to uncover a secret. >> coming up. >> there were a series of text messages with a young lady and they were definitely of a sexual
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>> police had announced the double murder in gracious ascot estates was a robbery gone very wrong. the unlikely intruder, the parker's family friend. brett parker told the investigators that his friend brian shot his wife tammie in a botched robbery attempt and then
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brett in fear for his own life killed his friend. it looked like self-defense. but they knew they had to thoroughly check out the story. >> we had to rely on him to explain to us what happened. so we would listen to everything he was saying and then we would check it. >> investigators went over brett's account starting with the moment brian entered the house. before long something unusual came to their attention. brett told police he was sitting on the downstairs toilet when he heard the shots ring out but one of the female crime scene investigators noticed this, the toilet seat was up. >> the lieutenant is a female and she made mention of that, that particularly bothered her. >> it takes a woman to notice that. >> right. as they poured over crime scene photos another small but important detail jumped out. brian's gym bag with ammunition
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and magazine clip visible. >> those items were found on top of the items in the bag. >> unusual because of what they noticed on the home security video that captured brian arriving at the house. >> if you look at the video, the way he threw that bag over his shoulder, you would have feel they would have gone to the lowest point in the bag so it's almost like the items had been placed there. >> and there was more that didn't seem to quite add up. >> investigators took a hard look at the time line of the crime as brett described it. that home security video showed brian arriving at brett's home at 12:31 p.m.. brett called 911 to report having shot brian at 12:42. >> what happened? who shot your wife? >> a friend of mine, brian. >> police believe the confrontation should have only taken a couple of minutes so why they wonder had brett taken nine more minutes to call 911.
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police are also curious with why with his wife shot inside brett had come outside to make the call. >> i would have been inside holding my wife and trying to administer first aid and cpr to my wife. >> he didn't have any blood on him at all. >> was that strange that he didn't have blood on him? >> it was. >> investigators picked through every detail in brett's account and found while he had been up front about his illegal bookie business he wasn't up front about everything. >> had he been involved in any adu adu adulterous affairs? and he said no. there were a series of text messages with a young lady of a sexual nature. >> they started looking at the evidence versus what he had said and over a period of time kept getting more red flags come up. >> tammie's best friend doesn't know anything about the investigation but she had a gut feeling something wasn't right.
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she called up the sheriff's department to say she thought brett was lying. >> i reached out to them and wanted to make sure that they knew that there were people that had a different side of the story. >> brett continued to insist it was self-defense but within a week of the shooting, he had gotten a lawyer. >> the sheriff told us he thought it was a little odd that brett retained a defense attorney so quickly when he was saying he was the victim. >> anybody in a situation like that doesn't retain an attorney immediately needs psychiatric help. >> his attorney said brett was no killer. he was just defending himself after brian showed up to steel his money. >> he went over there specifically to rob the people. tammie was there and he shot her first and we assumed he was going to shoot brett and brett got the drop on him instead. >> what motive could he have to shoot her. >> the motive he would have to shoot her was getting the money
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out of the safe and having no witnesses. >> why carry out a burglary when you know the wife is home? >> you're guess is as good as mine. >> some people find that hard to believe. >> sure they do. people find hard to believe that airplanes fly, but it happens. >> brett parker met directly with sheriff leon lott and even invited the sheriff to the house to show him the crime scene. >> he wanted to walk me through the house to demonstrate what had happened and after that meeting we sat at his kitchen table and at that point was the first time that i told him that i just didn't believe him. >> the sheriff was now convinced that brett was no victim. he was the masterfimind of a crl and highly unusual plot to kill a wife and blame a friend. >> what else could he get away with. >> three months after the murders there were startling news. >> the richland county sheriff department says parker is lying. >> brett parker was charged with
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two murders. >> why do you think it took so long? >> because they didn't have a case is what i thought. >> as the case headed to trial, there were no witnesses, no video of the crime, and little forensic evidence pointing to either brett or brian as the real killer. >> it was a high profile case, two killings and, you know, small town, they wanted to make the most of it. >> coming up, the trial opens with a bombshell. not about him but about her. >> was your relationship intimate? >> when dateline continues. intimate >> when dateline continues under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic,
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and not a cream or steroid. many people taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin. and, had significantly less itch. that's a difference you can feel. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. so help heal your skin from within, and talk to your eczema specialist about dupixent.
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two people are dead and one missing after a construction collapse in new orleans. 18 people were taken to the hospital in stable condition. >> president trump is calling rudy giuliani a wonderful lawyer
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the day after saying he doesn't know if he is still his personal attorney. this comes after a report that federal prosecutors are investigating giuliani's dealings with ukraine. now back to dateline. welcome back to dateline. brett parker was heading to trial, charged with the double murder of his wife tammie and their friend. brett admitted shooting brian in self-defense though he claims it was only after brian killed tammy, but prosecutors were prepared to show brett had plenty of motive to want his wife dead including a revelation that would stun even tammie's best friend. back now to andrea with mystery at ascot estates. >> in august of 2012, columbia, south carolina was reeling from the news that brett parker, the
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only survivor of a tragedy that left two people dead had himself been charged was acold blooded killer who masterminded the whole plan. brett's family and friends believed he was a man wrongly accused. >> he just wanted us to know he was innocent. every time he said i did not do it. >> even tammie's close friend, former bandmate woody woodward had a hard time believing brett was guilty. >> you had no reason to doubt brett it sounds like. >> i believed him. they actually called me to be a character witness and i said i would be glad to because i did not see him doing this. >> when the trial began in may it was a courtroom divided. on one side, brett's family and friends including his and tammie's teenage daughter. on the other side, friends and family of tammie and brian sat together. they wore blue, tammie's favorite color as a show of
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unity against the man they believed murdered both victims. >> there were shots fired in the home. >> in her opening statement, the prosecutor minced no words. brett parker had committed a terrible crime and then then elaborately covered it up. >> as you listen to the details of this case, you will be firmly convinced that it was brett parker who not only had the motive but actually did kill tammie parker and then brian. >> prosecutors wanted the jury to know that the parker marriage wasn't what it seemed. brett had strayed. once with an out of town woman and several time with a local bank teller. lindsey mullins testified that they met, they texted and that he shared some confidences about his marriage. >> he said he slept upstairs and she slept downstairs. >> but the parkers had more problems than just brett's
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affairs. they called ben staples to the stand, a parker family friend. >> how did tammie feel about the marriage. >> well, as the years went by she was unhappy. she had conversations, we had conversations regarding religion. brett did not believe in god and going to church. that was important to her. >> then ben revealed another bit of evidence about the parker's shaky marriage, this one a bombshell. >> was your relationship with her intimate. >> yes. >> how many years ago was that? >> about three years ago. >> and did that end. >> it did. it did not end our friendship. we remained best friends until her murder. >> the public admission of the affair was a total shock, even to those closest to tammie. >> so this was a secret she kept from her girlfriends. >> she did. we always felt like ben probably loved tammie because how could you not love tammie and we didn't know ben that well. so we didn't think that that had
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happened. >> an old friend and fellow bookie testified that four months before the murders brett was talking about a separation. >> my advice to him if he wanted it was that being that it was coming up on the holidays for him to try to go home and work it out with tammie and at least get through the holidays for the kid's sake and after the first of the year for them to try to get back together and if separating was an option then, then so be it. >> a bad marriage is one thing and murder is another. so prosecutors turned to a different motive, money. brett was in deep debt. he had make the biggest mistake a bookie can make. he gambled himself and brett wasn't too good at it. >> gunter told an investigator brett owed him big money. >> i just told them about the debt that brett and i had individually. 101,000. >> this is not the first time brett's gambling had been a serious issue. >> he had been caught in a great amount of debt.
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it nearly caused a divorce then. his father bailed him out. about $100,000. >> the state tried to convince the jury that killing tammie had been his way out of a shaky marriage and his gambling debt. tammie had taken out a life insurance policy. >> 868,000 was the ultimate amount. >> who was the beneficiary of this? >> brett. >> she also posted $200,000 in a 401k, combined with the insurance, nearly 1.1 million all left to brett. >> what kind of man sets up his friend to take the fall for murdering his wife and then murders the friend and leaves him with the legacy of, that he murdered somebody. >> he wanted to perpetuate this lifestyle. he wanted to gamble and enjoy the girlfriends and she was a hindrance to him. he felt like this was the way out. >> in court, the ugly accusations seemed to get to brett as the medical examiner testified about tammie's fatal injuries, brett said he felt ill
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and was rushed to the hospital. >> brett was back the next day to hear the prosecution present evidence it said proved he planned the murder, framed his friend and then covered it up. here's how they said he did it. >> first he shot and killed his wife in the upstairs office. then at 12:25 p.m. brett's own home security camera catches someone pierieering through the blinds. prosecutors say they believe it was brett waiting for brian to arrive for a meeting. gunshot residue was found on the blinds. proof brett already fired a gun. >> who is that peeking out the blinds? that was somebody in our opinion who had just done this heinous thing and was nervously awaiting his fall guy to show up. >> after killing brian, his fall guy, prosecutors said brett staged the crime scene and
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planted that gym bag and ammunition. >> that was supposed to be some kind of murder bag. >> and placed the gun he had used to kill his wife in brian's hand. there's no way brian brought that gun to brett's house a friend testified. >> did you know whether brian had a gun. >> heck no he did not have a gun. brian was scared of guns. there is no way on this earth that brian had a pistol. none. zero. it did not happen. and there was something else. he suffered a major gunshot wound to his arm but it's unlikely the gun would have stayed in his hand. >> in my medical opinion based on shots to the arm, to the forearm and falling over, i believe that the gun fell out of his hand.
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>> the gun had been placed in his hand. >> the prosecution had made it's case. now it was time for the defense to fight back. >> we had no proof whatsoever that he shot his wife. it was completely circumstantial. >> the defense was about to tell the jury that brian, not brett parker was the real villain. >> coming up brett's team produces a powerful witness to back up his story. his teenage girl. >> i was there and i remember. >> when dateline continues. rem. >> when dateline continues fight for first dances fight for blast offs fight for piggyback rides
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brett parker declared a resounding not guilty to the murder of his wife tammie and friend brian. from the day it happened to this moment in court he insisted he was the innocent victim of a robbery gone bad. >> who shot your wife? >> a friend of mine brian. >> is he still there? >> i shot him. i think i killed him. >> the defense attorney said the accusation that brett plotted to kill his wife and then framed his friend was too farfetched to believe. >> i think he's not a genius. it would have taken an einstein to think this thing up.
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>> would it take a genius to concoct that? >> brian was a desperate man with far motive for murder. a man at the end of his rope that had a desire for money and a plan for violence and the evidence in this case is going to prove it. >> still, the defense thought it had an uphill battle. he knew it didn't help his case that his client was an unfaithful husband and gambler. >> it showed he was a bad man because he gambled. he had an affair. they said that was another thing that showed he was a murder. it was just ludicrous. >> from the start, he and his co-counsel wanted the jury to know, okay, sure, brett a gambler himself was deep in debt but he was in debt to an old friend he had known since he was
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15. >> you weren't worried about that, were you? >> i have never been worried about brett. >> as a matter of fact if he had called you and said i'm having a problem, you would have wiped the whole thing clean for him. >> we would have worked something out. >> you never put any pressure on him or called him up and said i'm going to come get you or something, right? >> no, sir. >> and the life insurance policy that they said was a smoking gun, the insurance agent said brett wasn't that interested in a policy on tammie. >> did you attempt to sell him insurance on his wife? >> yes. >> were you successful to sell him insurance on his wife? >> i was not. >> tammie had taken out the insurance on her own and i stead of claiming a dime for himself, brett had already signed the insurance money over to his kids. >> did he tell you directly that he wanted this money to go to the children? >> yes. >> and remember those downstairs blinds, the one with the gunshot
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residue the prosecution said had been left by brett before brian even arrived? >> proof that he killed tammie ahead of time and then looked through the blinds to see brian coming. >> they stated that but they didn't prove that. >> a defense expert suggested the fine particles had merely drifted to that blind even days later. >> if you have an air handling system like we have in most buildings and houses, over a period of time it will be sucked through the intakes and distributed fairly evenly through a place. >> and that curious matter of the toilet seat being up when logically it should have been down. >> and that's the bathroom. >> yes. objection your honor, i'd like to have that stricken. >> when the prosecution tried to enter that as evidence in court the defense objected. it was just a family habit to
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leave the toilet seat up to make things easier for their young son. >> he had a 6-year-old child. every time the child comes in from school or anywhere else he runs to the bathroom right away. brett and his wife always put the seat up. >> he hears shots fired in his house and he's going to think about putting the toilet seat up. >> it's an automatic reaction if you do it every day. >> it was explainable behavior. the motive was flimsy said the defense. now it attacked the state's forensic evidence. the defense used the amount of gunshot residue to under mine the theory that brett had shot his wife with one gun and his friend with another arguing there just wasn't enough gun residue on his hands to have fired both weapons. >> if he fired both the .9 millimeter and the 410 revolver in combination i would expect his levels to be very high. >> what did you find in this case? >> well, his levels are
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consistent with someone who has fired a firearm, certainly, but they're not extremely high. >> and the defense argued that brian did have gunshot residue on his hands proving he could have killed tammie. >> certainly that's not the only way in which gunshot residue can be had but it is consistent with firing a gun. >> and there was the prosecutions theory that the gun in brian's hand had been placed there after his death, that he could never have held on to it after being shot himself. >> the state claims it would have been impossible for brian to have that gun in his hand given that severe injury that he sustained to his arm. >> that was hogwash. many, many people have a death grip. if you're shot and you have something in your hand, you squeeze it tighter. >> and the idea that brian would never have had a gun, a friend of brett's, robert bauer says that's just not true. he wasn't asked to tell his story in court but says that a
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month before the killings he was at the parker home and saw brian handling one of brett's guns with ease. >> he took all the bullets out and handed me that one and then handed me a resolver which he had took the bullets out and then i heard friends say he would never touch a gun. >> brett told investigators he had given brian that .9 millimeter handgun for protection and they brought in a witness to confirm that brett and tammie's 14-year-old daughter brooke. >> brian and my dad were discussing a gun that my dad had and they were just talking about how they thought it was good for him to have safety at his house and to protect brian's family. >> yes, sir. >> having young brooke parker testify was controversial but brett's aunt knew brooke
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believed her father was innocence and wanted to take the stand. >> she had some information that needed to be given and she did what she felt like she needed to do. >> she wanted the jury to hear her story. no matter how difficult it was to tell. >> i witnessed them talking about how he was giving a gun to brian. i'm not lying about that. i was there and i remember. >> it was a tragedy that had stirred up the quite waters of this carolina community and soon a jury would have to died who was to blame. but before they did, the defense wanted them to hear from the only perpetrator alison alive t knew what happened in the house that day. brett parker himself. >> coming up, did you ever have a plan to shoot and kill your wife? >> never. i would never hurt tammie. >> but would the jury believe
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him? >> as to the charge of the murder of tammie parker we the jury unanimously find the defendant -- >> when dateline continues. defendant -- >> when dateline continues only thermacare ultra pain relieving cream has 4 active ingredients to fight pain 4 different ways. get powerful relief today, with thermacare. how do you keep feeling your best all summer long? start with supporting your gut health. only activia has billions of our live and active probiotics. so, let's make this the summer of loving your gut. activia. love for your gut. thenot actors, people, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic,
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did a troubled marriage and a mountain of debt drive brett parker to kill his wife tammy and then frame and shoot his friend bryan to death? that was the question before a south carolina jury. the defense argued there was no physical evidence tying brett to
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the crime. now, brett was about to confront the allegations about his troubled marriage and the day it ended head on. with the conclusion of mystery at ascot estates, here's andrea canning. what really happened inside that ascot estates home? in court, brett parker confidently took the stand, eager to tell his version of events. first, he wanted the jury to know his marriage was hardly the wreck the prosecution made it out to be. >> me and tammy got along fine. we put our kids before everything. i know that's why i could never go to her and ask for a separation because it would just destroy our kids. >> and he explained his initial reticence to tell police about his affairs or reveal his own massive gambling debts had nothing to do with the murders. >> when they asked me about the affair and i admitted it to them
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the next days and as far as the gambling goes, if you know bookmakers, it's not something you talk about. >> struggling to keep his emotions in check, he recounted the day of the shooting. >> he's standing there with a gunpointed at me and told me to go to the [ bleep ] safe and i walked up the steps and i was -- didn't know what was going on. i was panicked. i kept asking why, what are you doing? as we walked by the office, i could see -- i could see tammy's feet sticking out of the bathro bathroom. and then i knew something was wrong, bad. that he had probably shot her.
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>> when you sh-- when i got to that safe, i made a decision, it's going to be me or him. >> ultimately, the defense wanted the jury to see that, while a flawed man, brett parker was no killer. >> did you shoot in self-defense cap en hurst? >> yes, i did. >> did you ever have a plan, a premedicated plan to shoot and kill your wife? >> no. >> under cross-examination, brett held firm, sticking to the story, he first told investigators. >> did you think it was important to tell the police the truth? >> i did tell them the truth. i've told them what's happened in that house. that is the truth. i believe, as i see it, the evidence proves it. >> the prosecutor talked to him about his infidelities. he insisted his feelings for tammy never wavered. >> he said you love tammy, still
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love her to this day. >> i will. >> despite their troubles, brett said the love for tammy was always there. >> you would never do anything to hurt her. >> never hurt her. i would never hurt tammy. never have. >> it was time for closing arguments in the case of the people versus brett parker. >> i ask you with all my heart and all the love and faith i have in our jury system to send brett back to his family. don't let this injustice continue. >> brett parker is no victim. he is a greedy, selfish, entitled and while yes, maybe even charming at times manipulative killer. >> then the case was in the hands of the jury. >> what's the mood like? >> i told my wife that if if
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it's short, i'm not going to feel good unless they take a while. >> in just three hours they were back. in the divided courtroom, the families of tammy, brian and brett prepare to hear brett's fate. >> as to the charges of unanimously find the defendant guilty. as to the charges in the murder of brian cap en hurst, we find the defendant guilty. >> when you heard the words guilty, what were you thinking? >> thank god. it's sad. not -- it's not the outcome any of us want. tammy is not bad. brooke has no father. but thank god he didn't get away with it. >> brett sentence read immediately was life behind bars. >> it just was like god, i've lost a friend. i lost one of my best friends. very emotional.
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>> does that weigh heavy on you knowing he'll be behind bars for life? >> certainly it weighs heavily on me. i'm an irishman. that especially because i defended many people that i knew were guilty. this is one i thought was not guilty. >> tammy's friends keep her memory alive, in part, through her music. in the fall of 2012, ben staples holds his annual barbecue as a tribute to tammy. >> there it ever be the same without her. >> we'll continue but obviously not the same without tammy jo. >> things are settling down again in this quiet southern town. the healing has begun for the family and friends of both victims. >> i know tammy is in heaven. she was strong in her convictions and she always said that. i don't know about brett. but i know i'll be in heaven. i feel like she's around. i feel her presence. i can hear her. she's still there.
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i still feel her with me. i dream about her a lot. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it's 6:00 in the east, 3:00 out west. here's what's happening. the first time we're hearing what to expect from a key figure. new details. a timeline. a vote could be taken today. reaction ahead. escalating drama. day five of the military action in syria and new video shows some of the worst fears could be coming true. live reports ahead. comic relief. snl's star studded takes on a recent democrat's town hall. that's

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