COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The second week of testimony in the trial of a Columbia man charged with killing his wife and his colleague in a sports gambling ring ended with a medical examiner saying the gun in one of the victim's hands was likely planted after he died.
Dr. Bradley Marcus said Friday that Brian Capnerhurst's left arm was broken with one of the first shots fired at him, and the blow sent him falling backward over boxes, which would have forced him to let go of anything he was holding.
That point is critical because Brett Parker's attorney said he killed Capnerhurst in self-defense after Capnerhurst shot Parker's wife in their suburban Columbia home in April 2012. A gun was found in Capnerhurst's left hand when officers arrived.
Parker is standing trial on two counts of murder for Capnerhurst's death and the death of his wife, Tammy.
During arguments before the judge but without the jury in the room, prosecutor Luck Campbell said the testimony about injuries to Capnerhurst's arm were critical.
"Mr. Parker, after giving a final head shot went and got the gun used to kill his wife and placed it in the victim's hand," Campbell said. "But he didn't know that arm was broken."
During cross-examination, Parker's lawyer suggested the gun was still in Capnerhurst's hand because of a "death grip" — spasms that caused his grip to stay firm as he died from a gunshot that pieced his heart.
"He's not basing it on any science," defense attorney Mark Whitlark said.
Capnerhurst and Parker worked in a sports betting business, and a friend testified Friday that Capnerhurst was excited the day he died because Parker was going to pay $21,000 he was owed.
Other testimony has included evidence Parker was having an affair and was in financial trouble.
Parker's lawyers have vigorously cross-examined almost every witness, trying to poke holes in the ballistic and scientific testimony.