Mother, Son Accused in Plot to Kill Neighbor

Police say pair beat a neighbor to death with a hammer.

May 14, 2009, 2:42 PM

May 15, 2009— -- A woman who works at a physical therapy center is accused of having her 20-year-old son use a bat and a hammer to beat to death the woman who lived next door, allegedly clearing the way for her romance with the dead woman's husband.

According to a police affidavit, Rebecca Sears, 41, of Augusta, Ga., told the police that her son Christopher Bowers went next door where Laverne Kay Parsons lived while Sears took her other children to school.

When she returned from school, Bowers had blood on his face and told his mother he "took care of everything," Sears allegedly confessed to the police, the affidavit said.

"Christopher told her that he 'beat the f*** out of [Parsons],'" the affidavit said.

Sears and Bowers pleaded not guilty this week to murder and robbery charges and are being held without bond at the Columbia County jail. They may face the death penalty if convicted.

Sears' attorney, Victor Hawk, said she was innocent and said he was waiting for the full transcript of Sears' police interview.

"I'd be very wary of summaries," Hawk said. "Just like any summary of a conversation, there are going to be nuances of the Enlgish language that are extremely important. If we have five people listen to the same conversation, we'd have five different versions."

Parsons' battered body was found in her garage on the morning of March 25. Two days later, according to the police affidavit, Sears told police that Bowers broke into Parsons' house, staged a robbery and then beat Parsons to death with a claw hammer and baseball bat.

Two people, including Sears' other son Michael, told police that Sears was involved in a romantic relationship with Parsons' husband, and had said that she wanted someone to kill Parsons, according to the affidavit.

An unidentified informant told police that Rebecca Sears asked him to murder Parsons, the affidavit states. Michael Sears also told police that his mother had told him she "wished she knew someone who would kill someone for her," the document claims.

Messages left at the Sears' and Parsons homes were not returned.

Police and prosecutors declined to comment on a potential motive for the killing and have said they do not expect to make any more arrests.

At a hearing last month, prosecutors said that Sears was the "mastermind" of the killing who told her son to kill Parsons. On Wednesday, Sears and Bowers pleaded not guilty.

Sears cried on and off during the proceedings and, at one point, she and her son blew kisses at each other, according to ABC News affiliate WJBF-TV.

Neighbor Found Beaten, Died at Hospital

On the morning that Parsons was murdered, Sears had picked up Bowers and brought him to her house, she told police, according to the affidavit. She then left to take her other children to school. When she picked up Bowers after the murder, he had blood on his face and said he "took care of everything," the affidavit said.

Parsons died the next day at the hospital. Rebecca Sears was seen at the hospital before Parsons' death, demanding to be told of Parsons' condition, the police say.

The next night, police claimed, Bowers shot Sears in the leg, wounding her as she left work in a staged attack that was meant to trick police.

Sears and Parsons worked at different branches of Healing Hands Physical Therapy. A person who answered the phone at the office declined to comment.

Attorneys for Sears and Bowers said their clients are innocent. They declined to comment about details of the case, including the alleged affair.

"She's real depressed," said Hawk. "She is very upset that she has no opportunity for bond. We've tried to tell her she's just going to have to be strong and be prepared to fight for her life."

The lawyers said they expect to be able to prove that Sears and Bowers were not at Parsons' house when the murder took place.

"We do have independent witnesses and documentation to support and prove their respective defenses," Hawk said.

"All we've heard so far are conclusions made by investigators, not anything about the evidence to support those conclusions," he said.

Lawyer: No Physical Evidence Ties Clients to Crime Scene

Bowers' lawyer, Jacque Hawk, said, "We're a little confused about what [the prosecutors] theory is. We don't have any physical evidence that has been given to us that ties them to the crime scene."

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