'Black widow’ to be arraigned next month

Officials expect trial late this year
Betty Neumar: The 76-year-old woman is accused of attempting to hire someone to kill her fourth husband.

The Augusta grandmother accused of hiring someone to kill her fourth husband will be arraigned early next month in a North Carolina court.


It has been more than two years since Richmond County investigators arrested 78-year-old Betty Neumar in her Cambridge Court home on charges that she hired a hit man to kill Harold Gentry in 1986. The case has crawled through the courts in Stanly County, about 45 miles east of Charlotte, where Neumar lived with Gentry when he was shot to death.

Ginger Efrid, of the Stanly County District Attorneys Office, announced last week that officials expect a trial date to be set for late this year.

Neumar, who is free on bond, will appear in the Stanly County courthouse on Aug. 2 to be arraigned on charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, according to Stanly County court documents.

Neumar became fodder for talk shows and tabloid papers - eventually earning her the nickname of the Black Widow - after reports surfaced following her arrest that she had been married five times and each of her spouses were deceased.

At least three of the men died from gunshot wounds, including Gentry, whose bullet-riddeled body was found in his Norwood, N.C., home.

Authorities in Florida, Ohio and Augusta began opening cases into the deaths of her husbands, but so far charges have been brought only in the Gentry case.

Al Gentry, Harold's 65-year-old brother and a driving force behind getting charges against Neumar, said he is simply waiting for justice to be done.

"I've gone about as far as I can go," said Gentry, who plans to attend Neumar's trial.

Despite no charges being filed against Neumar in other states, Al Gentry said he still believes she was involved in her other husbands' deaths.

"This can't all be a coincidence," he said.

It was 24 years last week that Harold Gentry was found dead. Al Gentry marked the occasion from a hospital bed, where he asked the nurses to remove the date from the whiteboard in his room so it wouldn't serve as the grim reminder of his brother's death.

He was admitted to the hospital after having trouble breathing and speaking, but the cause of his ailments has yet to be determined, Gentry said.

He claims Neumar's reaction after his brother's death is what led to his crusade to have her arrested. There were no tears, he said, and her first words were to say she had been in Augusta when Harold was killed.

"I've spent a third of my life doing this," he said. "If she walks free then there ain't no end."

Authorities arrested Neumar after a former police officer and two former neighbors came forward claiming she tried to hire them to kill Gentry in the months before his murder in 1986.

Police and prosecutors have spec­ulated that Neumar was desperate for money and wanted to collect her husband's $20,000 life insurance policy, according to Associated Press reports citing the indictment.

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