Neumar keeps attorney to defend new charges

Betty Neumar, 78, is charged with killing her fourth husband and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

 

The 78-year-old Augusta woman accused of killing her fourth husband made an appearance in a North Carolina courtroom Monday.

Betty Neumar arrived for a hearing at the courthouse in Stanly County to appoint counsel for her on two additional counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, according to Ginger Efrid, of the Stanly County District Attorney's Office. Neumar will retain her current attorney, Charles Parnell, for the two charges.

Neumar was initially charged with one count, and two others were added a short time later.

Neumar missed two hearings, on Aug. 2 and Aug. 6. During the second hearing, her attorney presented a doctor's note that said it was unsafe for her to travel because of health problems. Authorities have refused to comment on the nature of her illness.

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.

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.

Al Gentry, the ailing brother of the victim, said he traveled to the courtroom to see Neumar for the first time since her bond hearing more than two years ago. Gentry said it was a change to see her in a multicolored outfit instead of the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs from before.

"She went out there with a smile on her face, but Parnell didn't have one," Gentry said.

Neumar appeared with her daughter, Kelly, whom Neumar clung to for support while moving about in the courtroom, Gentry said. Neumar is scheduled to be back in court for her arraignment Oct. 11.

Neumar hearing is delayed