Woman, son face charges in killing

A Columbia County man is charged with murder, and his mother with murder conspiracy, in the fatal beating of a neighbor, who was also the mother's co-worker.

Christopher Sean Bowers, 19, and Rebecca Bowers Sears, 41, were arrested late Friday in the death of Laverne Katherine Parsons, 41, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. Authorities added a murder charge against Mr. Bowers on Saturday, Capt. Morris said.

He said no more arrests were expected.

Mrs. Parsons, of 229 Hot Springs Drive, was found beaten in her home Wednesday morning and died the next day. Authorities said it appeared she had interrupted a burglary. A coroner's report indicates she suffered severe head injuries from a hammer and a baseball bat found at the scene.

Capt. Morris said search warrants had been executed at the residences of Ms. Sears, of 227 Hot Springs Drive, and Mr. Bowers, of 4086 Briarwood Drive. Ms. Sears' vehicle was seized. Police also obtained a search warrant for Ms. Sears' Augusta workplace, Healing Hands Physical Therapy Center on Highland Avenue. Ms. Parsons had worked at the Thomson location of the therapy center, according to the company's Web site.

Capt. Morris said he would not discuss a motive for the attack or what led to the arrests.

He said Mr. Bowers had a police record and had been charged in May with marijuana possession, driving under the influence of drugs and other traffic-related offenses.

He would not discuss an incident Thursday night during which Ms. Sears told a Richmond County sheriff's investigator that she was shot in the leg by a man who surprised, then threatened her outside her workplace. Capt. Morris said it was "a reasonable assumption" that the shooting was meant to distract police.

He confirmed that Ms. Sears visited Mrs. Parsons on Wednesday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, although he would not say whether Mrs. Parsons was conscious at the time.

Ms. Sears and Mr. Bowers were present when deputies reached the Parsons home Wednesday morning after a contractor found a smashed-in French door, Capt. Morris said.

Ms. Sears followed a deputy inside the house, but was escorted out when the deputy saw blood on a couch and living room rug, according to a police incident report.

Ms. Sears told deputies her home had also been broken into. Police said that they found her house ransacked but that there was no sign of forced entry, nor did they have a list of anything missing.

Reach Donnie Fetter or Jenna Martin at 868-1222 or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.

What's next?

Authorities say Christopher Bowers' mother, Rebecca Sears, could also face a murder charge.