Sam Parker was convicted Thursday, Sept. 3, with the murder of his missing wife.
He was charged with her murder in February 2008. He has been in jail since then. Theresa was a dispatcher with Walker County 911. Her last known contact with anyone was about 9:30 p.m. on March 21, 2007. Her body has not been found.
Sam was a sergeant with the LaFayette Police Department when she disappeared.
Asked if Patterson was satisfied with the verdict’s outcome, she said, “Yes, absolutely. We were very satisfied with the jury’s verdict. They worked really hard.”
Asked if she was nervous right before the verdict was read, Patterson said, “I think you are always apprehensive. It is the unknown. You don’t know what it is going to be …. but, I felt like we did our best and we had to have faith that they (the jury) would do the right thing.”
Asked about the jury changing from a 4-8 split to a unanimous verdict within a few hours, Patterson said that it is not wise to speculate what goes on in the jury room, because no one knows but the jury itself.
“None of us were there,” she said. “They (the jury) did not appear to me to be angry at each other. They appeared to me to be working hard and the jury forelady kept saying, ‘we’re making progress, we’re making progress,’ so they were talking about it … There were people in that jury room who were fighting for us and Theresa, and I appreciate their efforts and I know that Theresa’s family does to0.”
Patterson said the jury looked tired and kept informing the judge that they were making progress.
“It was only when they said that they were not making progress anymore that the judge gave the Allen charge and that is what the Allen charge is for,” she said. “That is the exact situation that the Allen charge is designed for and it is not anything new. It is in the pattern jury charge.”
The Allen case was originated in 1896.
Asked about public defender David Dunn’s request for a new trial, Patterson said, “That is what always happens. The defense attorney has 30 days to file a motion for a new trial. It is part of the process. The next step after the trial and it is definitely not unexpected.”
Patterson said she will continue with the case and will handle the appeal.
“It is still my case,” she said.
Patterson said the citizens of Walker County were very encouraging to her.
“I have nothing bad to say about Walker County,” she said.
Patterson thanked all the individuals who helped her with the case, including Walker County sheriff Steve Wilson, LaFayette public safety director Chief Tommy Freeman, Walker County sheriff’s Capt. Mike Freeman, Walker County sheriff’s detectives Sgt. Walt Hensley and Lt. Burt Cagle, GBI case agent James Harris, FBI case agent Marcus Veazy, the Walker County commissioners office, Walker County clerk Carter Brown and all the court personnel, Suzie’s Restaurant, her own staff and the everyday citizens of Walker County.
“It was a hard case, but the experience was made better by virtue of the fact that so many people were kind to us,” she said. “Everyone I came into contact with in Walker County was so encouraging to us.”
Patterson, who is district attorney for Floyd County, said she had missed her home, family and church for the two months she was away working on the case, but found encouragement at Chickamauga Baptist Church.
Patterson said the presiding judge, Jon “Bo” Wood, was “just a pleasure to try the case in front of.” “He is a gentleman. He was so patient,” she said.
Patterson said district attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin’s office was very helpful to the prosecution.
Patterson said she is now back to work, trying other cases, but will remain involved in the search for Theresa Parker’s remains.
“I am still the legal adviser on the case,” she said. “It is something that will continue to be ongoing.”