ARDMORE, Okla. – Family and friends shed tears as they looked on in court on Tuesday as the murder trial of James Eric Parker continued at the Carter County Courthouse.
Parker is accused of the 2006 murder of Danny Waterson. Now, jurors are gaining more insight into the mind of an accused killer.
Compelling arguments were made on Tuesday as attorneys for both sides made their closing statements. The jury saw its most intimate look yet into James Eric Parker's state of mind in the months leading up to Danny Watterson's killing
Attorneys say Parker's state of mind is important because that is one of the central points that the jury must consider in choosing what crime to charge him with.
What are the options?
Judge Lee Card told the jurors this morning that they must arrive at a unanimous decision either guilty of manslaughter in the first degree, guilty of murder in the first degree, or not guilty of any charges.
An acquittal would seem extremely unlikely since the defense freely admits Parker killed Watterson on June 29, 2006.
In addition to first degree murder, Parker must also answer to kidnapping and burglary charges.
As far as the atmosphere in the courtroom Tuesday morning, it was extraordinarily emotional at one point when defense attorney John Echols read from Parker's private diary. His son broke down in the audience when he heard what his father had written about how proud he was of his children and his hopes for their future. Then, Parker himself started crying.
The jury seemed to be very aware of the emotions flowing in the room at this point.
What remains to be seen is what influence-- if any-- that might have on their decision.
As the jury deliberates on Tuesday, a verdict could come at any time.