A Columbia County woman and her son pleaded guilty Friday to the 2009 beating death of Laverne “Kay” Parsons.
Rebecca Bowers Sears, 44, and Christopher Sean Bowers, 23, offered negotiated guilty pleas during a sentencing hearing in Evans.
Superior Court Judge Sheryl B. Jolly sentenced them to life in prison without parole for murder, life in prison for armed robbery and 20 years for burglary, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
“It was a good resolution to the case to get it done on both defendants that quickly,” District Attorney Ashley Wright said after the hearing. “I hate to say ‘that quickly’ three years later.”
Columbia County sheriff’s deputies found a beaten and bloody Parsons in the garage of her Grovetown home in March 2009.
Authorities accused Sears and Bowers of beating her to death with a bat and a claw hammer.
“She’d been beaten very severely,” Wright said. “She’d been struck numerous times.”
Deputies arrested the pair a few days later. They were indicted on murder, armed robbery and burglary charges in April 2010.
In previous court appearances, prosecutors said Sears had an affair with Parsons’ husband and orchestrated the murder to eliminate her romantic rival.
To try to derail the investigation, Sears and Bowers staged a shooting days after Parsons’ murder. Though Bowers meant only to threaten his mother with a gun before a “witness” listening from Sears’ mobile phone, he actually pulled the trigger and shot her in the leg in front of her Augusta workplace, said Richmond County sheriff’s investigators.
Wright had intended to seek the death penalty.
“I think it is an appropriate case for the death penalty,” Wright said, adding that the pleas avoid the trauma of trials on the families involved. “It is, quite frankly, one of the grisliest murders I have ever seen.”
Attorneys for Sears and Bowers negotiated the guilty plea to avoid the possibility of being sentenced to death.