Mother, son denied bond in slaying

A prosecutor said Thursday that Rebecca Sears was the "mastermind" behind the fatal beating last month of her next-door neighbor.

 

Mrs. Sears, 41, and her son, 19-year-old Christopher Bowers, were denied bond Thursday by Superior Court Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet. They are charged with the March 25 murder of Laverne "Kay" Parsons.

Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano, who asked Judge Overstreet to deny bond, referred to Mrs. Sears as the "mastermind" in Mrs. Parsons' homicide. As Mrs. Parsons' neighbor, Mr. Catalano said, Mrs. Sears knew the victim's schedule and that her husband, David Parsons, was out of town.

Mr. Catalano said Mrs. Sears, of 227 Hot Springs Drive, Grovetown, told her son when to strike and that it was Mr. Bowers, of the 4000 block of Briarwood Drive, Martinez, who beat Mrs. Parsons, 41, to death with a claw hammer.

A blood trail that started in the living room of Mrs. Parsons' home and ended in the garage, where Columbia County sheriff's deputies found her next to the murder weapon, suggested that she was trying to run from Mr. Bowers, said Mr. Catalano.

Calling Mrs. Sears and Mr. Bowers flight risks and dangers to the community, Mr. Catalano said the mother and son twice tried to fool police.

"They've showed they would do anything to avoid punishment," said Mr. Catalano, referring to a March 26 incident in which police think Mr. Bowers shot his mother in the leg outside her Augusta workplace in an effort to deceive authorities.

Initially, Mrs. Sears, a mother of five, and Mr. Bowers attempted to convince authorities that the murder was the by-product of a burglary, said Mr. Catalano. He said they even ransacked Mrs. Sears' home and claimed that it too had been burglarized.

The prosecutor also told the judge that the mother and son have criminal records -- Mrs. Sears was arrested in 1990 for shoplifting and Mr. Bowers was arrested last year for marijuana possession and driving under the influence of drugs.

Police arrested Mr. Bowers and Mrs. Sears on March 28.

Victor Hawk and Jacque Hawk, attorneys for Mrs. Sears and Mr. Bowers, respectively, argued at the bond hearing that the evidence against their clients is circumstantial.

The Hawks said that they are continuing to investigate Mrs. Parsons' death and had asked the judge to delay ruling on the bond until after an April 29 preliminary hearing, where they said they intend to show that their clients didn't kill Mrs. Parsons.

Though Judge Overstreet denied bond anyway, he told the lawyers that they may request a second bond hearing after the preliminary hearing.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.