Sam Parker Takes the Stand
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC -- Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday in the corruption trial for the ex-Chersterfield County sheriff. In a dramatic end to testimony in the case, Sam Parker spent several hours on the witness stand Wednesday afternoon, being grilled about reports of misconduct in office.
When the prosecutor asked, "Did you knowingly ever violate any of the laws alleged in this eight count indictment by the state?"
Sam parker replied, "Absolutely not."
Those were the first words from former sheriff Sam Parker as he took the stand.
The ex-Chesterfield law man answered questions for close to three hours, with the focus on those eight counts he is facing.
Parker was asked about allegations that he gave weapons, weapons obtained for the sheriff's department, to individuals who weren't trained or sworn in. People Parker called "special reserve deputies".
"Is there any such thing under the law of South Carolina as a Special Reserve Deputy?" asked the prosecuting attorney.
"I'm not sure what the classification is m'am," asnwered Parker
"So you just made it up?" asked the prosecutor
"Don't think I made it up..." replied Parker
Parker also answered allegations that he and his staff allowed inmates privileges including spending nights away from jail, trips to restaurants, and access to vehicles.
"You took them to dinner, you let them out in the community at Halloween parties. You let them go to Christmas parties," asked the prosecutor. "You left them alone at the armory because you weren't worried about them escaping or doing anything harmful, right?"
"Correct. Yes m'am," answered Parker from the witness stand.
There are even allegations that Parker allowed inmates access to guns.
"Are you aware that inmates are not allowed to possess weapons in the state of South Carolina?" asked the prosecutor
"Felons. You're correct. Yes m'am," replied Parker
"Inmates!" said the prosecutor.
"I'm not aware of that," said Parker
"You're not aware that inmates can't possess weapons?" replied the prosecutor.
"No m'am," said Parker.
It was a theme in the former sheriff's testimony, things that couldn't be remembered and a seeming lack of knowledge when it comes to what is legal, and what's not.
Parker faces up to 15 years in prison if he's convicted. If he's acquitted, Parker says he will ask for his job back.