The pretrial hearings, which began Monday, are taking place in Walker County Superior Court in downtown LaFayette, with Judge Jon “Bo” Wood presiding.
Parker’s murder trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 17 in Walker Superior Court. He was charged in February 2008 with murdering his wife, Theresa. He has been in jail since then.
Theresa Parker, a dispatcher with Walker County 911 and who lived on Cordell Avenue, has been missing since March 21, 2007. Her body has not been found.
Sam Parker was a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department when she disappeared.
In preparation for Parker’s Aug. 17 trial, prosecutors and the defense this week are arguing over what should be admitted as evidence.
In Tuesday morning’s pretrial proceedings, Lisa Higgins of Louisiana was the first to testify.
Higgins retired from law enforcement after 30 years and continues to train search-and-rescue dogs.
According to testimony and court proceedings Tuesday morning:
Higgins brought her Australian shepherd named “Maggie” to search for Theresa Parker in April 2007.
Maggie has been a certified cadaver dog since 2003 and is trained in searching for decomposed remains.
Maggie lets her handlers know she has found decomposed remains by lying down near the scent.
On April 13, 2007, Higgins and Maggie came to Walker County to search for Theresa Parker.
Maggie searched Ridge Reed Road, a burnt vehicle, two patrol cars, and a pond near Cordell Avenue and found no substantial evidence.
While investigating vehicles in the impound behind the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Maggie picked up a scent and sent an alert, by laying down, when she came across a Toyota Forerunner. Maggie had a change of behavior when she picked up a scent along the rear passenger’s side of the vehicle.
In response to questions from the defense, Higgins said the scent picked up by Maggie is not necessarily human remains.
The defense asked if two drops of blood that Maggie found may have been from construction workers.
The defense asked Higgins if Maggie was infallible and Higgins replied, “No, sir.”
The second witness was Martin Grime of the United Kingdom and is occasionally contracted by the U.S. government and is a qualified expert in cadaver dogs.
Grime said, “If you look at the statistics, bodies are never carried (physically) over 150 yards.”
Grime said that is due to weight and that a body could be carried further, with the help of another person.