Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Move to close Columbia County court proceeding denied

  • Follow Crime & courts

A judge denied a motion this morning to prohibit public and media access to an upcoming pre-trial hearing for a Columbia County woman, who is accused along with her son, in the March beating death of her next-door neighbor.

Valerie Rowell
Twitter: @valerierowell
E-mail | 706-868-1222

Defense attorneys for Rebecca Bowers Sears, 41, and Sean Christopher Bowers, 20, requested that a Jackson-Denno hearing be closed claiming information presented in the hearing would be prejudicial to potential jurors.

In the Jackson-Denno hearing, a judge will determine if statements made by Mrs. Sears were made voluntarily and if they should be suppressed as evidence in her trial.

Sears, of the 200 block of Hot Springs Drive, and Bowers, of the 4000 block of Briarwood Drive, are charged in the death of Sears' next-door neighbor, Laverne "Kay" Parsons.

On March 25, Parsons was found in her garage beaten to death with a bat and a claw hammer. Sears and Bowers were arrested a few days later. Both were indicted on murder, armed robbery and burglary charges in April.

Jacque Hawk, Bowers' attorney, requested the closing to reduce pre-trial publicity of the facts. He claimed information in Sears' statements is false or misleading regarding Bowers.

"This (open Jackson-Denno hearing) would taint the rest of the proceedings against him to such he cannot have a fair trial," Hawk said.

The information could lead to a need to change the venue of the trial to outside the county and possibly a retrial of the case, Hawk said.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said in her 14 years in the Augusta Judicial Circuit, only one trial required a change of venue and not due to pre-trial publicity, but because the defendant was well-known in the small community.

She said the request is premature because the decision to change the trial venue is one made during jury selection.

"We believe we can get a fair and impartial jury," Wright said.

A date for the Jackson-Denno hearing has not yet been set.

By law, Sears and Bowers will be tried separately because Wright plans to seek the death penalty.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, ext. 110 or

Comments (7) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justus4 02/24/10 - 01:51 pm
A prediction: Neither

A prediction: Neither individual charged in this case will be sentenced to death. In fact, they may get probation and time-served as the result of the process. Much is wrong with this case, but the concept of charging each with murder is flawed. In the end, neither will get that sentence so what purpose will have been served by making the effort? (??) Then, the jury selection will determine the actual verdict because the jury selected will not want death for these two. It's that simple, but can't be spoken what happens.

emergencyfan 02/24/10 - 02:31 pm
Can you give me today's

Can you give me today's winning lottery numbers, too, Justus?

Riverman1 02/24/10 - 02:39 pm
There are things about this

There are things about this case that could only be answered in court.

johnston.cliff 02/24/10 - 04:33 pm
justusIV, is your 1:51 your

justusIV, is your 1:51 your usual post or do you have inside information?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/24/10 - 05:00 pm
What would those things be,

What would those things be, Riverman?

Remember that the accused do not have to testify.

devgru1 02/24/10 - 11:27 pm
Charging both with murder

Charging both with murder isn't flawed according to Ga. Criminal Code. If either assisted the other, they can be charged with murder. As for probation or time served, not if they are found guilty of murder. I doubt they will receive the death penalty. People in this area don't have the stomach for it according to past trials.

SonofaGunderson 02/24/10 - 11:28 pm
Prediction: Justus will not

Prediction: Justus will not be a part of "the fair and impartial jury"

carboholic 03/05/10 - 09:31 am
The punishment needs to fit

The punishment needs to fit the crime and knowing the history of these two and their many passed violent outbursts, the death penalty is fitting. It is unfortunate and sad for her young innocent boys, but a lesson for all on consequences and choices.

Back to Top
Top headlines

Georgia may lower income tax

ATLANTA -- Georgia Republicans have introduced a bill that will lower the rate on income taxes for individuals and businesses that their economists estimate will result in 14,000 or so jobs.
Search Augusta jobs