Suspect in killings, 78, fails to appear - again

Neumar 'too sick' to attend hearings to decide counsel
Betty Neumar is accused of trying to hire someone to kill her husband.

For the second time this month, the Augusta woman accused of hiring someone to kill her fourth husband was not present in a North Carolina courtroom.

An attorney for Betty Neumar, 78, presented a doctor's note to the presiding judge stating that Neumar was ill and unable to make the trip to Stanly County, where she was to be present for a hearing to determine counsel on two of her three charges, according to her attorney, Charles Parnell.

Neumar also did not attend a hearing Aug. 2. Parnell said he presented a doctor's note that said it was unsafe for her to travel because of her health conditions. He would not comment on the nature of her illness.

Ginger Efrid, of the Stanly County District Attorney's Office, said she did not know the specifics of Neumar's illness.

Al Gentry, the brother of the victim, attended the hearing and said Parnell told the judge that she was "too sick to travel." He said they were not clear about what exactly Neumar's illness was, but she might need surgery.

Efrid said a hearing involving the appointment of counsel for two other charges against Neumar will be rescheduled for Aug. 16.

Neumar is charged with three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. Parnell said that he was retained for the initial charge but that they are still working out the details for her counsel on the other two.

Her formal arraignment will be Oct. 11, Efrid said.

Neumar has been awaiting a trial date since she was arrested outside her Cambridge Court home in Augusta in 2008. Authorities charged her after a former police officer and two former neighbors claimed that she tried to hire them to kill her husband, Harold Gentry, in the months before his homicide in 1986.

Officials have speculated that Neumar needed money and wanted to collect her husband's $20,000 life insurance policy.

Neumar was married five times, and all five husbands are dead. At least three of the men died of gunshot wounds, including Gentry, whose body was found in his Norwood, N.C., home.

Cases were opened by law enforcement officials in Florida, Ohio and Augusta to investigate the deaths of her other husbands, but charges have been filed only in the Gentry case.

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