Suspects in Illegal Gambling Ring Sting Offered Deal, Will Not Be Prosecuted
In March, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department asked suspects involved in the illegal gambling ring run by murder suspect Brett Parker to step forward. After several arrests, many of which were voluntary, the department has announced that the 17 total suspects arrested in connection with the illegal gambling ring have been freed after paying fines.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department announced that on the evening of Tuesday, April 9th, the 17 suspects pled guilty and were offered a literal get-out-of-jail-free card: Sheriff Leon Lott said the men could avoid illegal gambling charges if they agreed to go to Gamblers Anonymous.
However, only one of the defendants accepted the offer. The other 16 men simply paid their fines. They had been charged for misdemeanor gambling, because, although they were part of the large-scale illegal gambling operation, they only placed bets with Parker and his “employees.”
A press release from the sheriff’s department said that all the men are now officially considered adjudicated and the cases are closed.
Some other members of the illegal gambling ring have been arrested on federal gambling charges, including Lanny Ray Gunter, who ran a branch of the operation in Lexington. However, his sentence was reduced because he agreed to cooperate with authorities during the investigation of the Parker murder case.
The illegal gambling ring, run in part by now-infamous murder suspect Brett Parker, spanned several counties in South Carolina, and was one of the largest sports betting operations in the state. Sheriff Leon Lott commented that the operation was not simple, small sports bets – ““We’re talking about big money,” Lott said. “This was not a $5 bet on who’s going to win a ball game.”
The Murder That Uncovered the Illegal Gambling Operation
One year ago this month, Brett Parker’s wife Tammy Jo Parker, and one of Parker’s associates Bryan Capnerhurst, were found shot to death in the Parkers’ upscale Irmo home. Parker told police that Capnerhurst came to his house to settle a sports bet, and went upstairs to wait. However, Parker then heard gunshots and ran upstairs to see what happened. He found his wife dead on the floor, and Capnerhurst with a gun. Capnerhurst pointed the gun at Parker, who managed to retrieve a gun from the top of his safe and fired in self-defense.
While the coroner’s report verified that two guns were used in the double homicide, both the guns belonged to Parker. He was arrested and charged with murder.
According to investigators, Parker owed Capnerhurst about $20,000 from bets. He ran a huge illegal gambling operation out of his upscale home in Irmo, SC. Prosecutors allege that Parker killed his wife to collect $1 million in insurance money to pay off a $600,000 gambling debt, then blamed her death on Capnerhurst.
The murder case, which is a state crime, will go to trial in May. While Parker’s criminal case goes to trial, Richland County investigators are rounding up all the members of Parker’s illegal gambling ring. Parker himself is charged with one count of running an illegal gambling business, which is a federal crime.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Against State and Federal Criminal Charges, Including Illegal Gambling Rings
Our firm was founded by Pete Strom, the former US Attorney for the District of South Carolina. He, along with his team of attorneys, will zealously represent you in any state or federal court in South Carolina against criminal charges, including illegal gambling. Don’t miss out on your one opportunity to protect your rights and maintain your freedom. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have over 30 years of experience collectively. We offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.