Shooting staged as cover, police say

The wounding of a Columbia County woman charged in the beating death of a neighbor was staged to distract law enforcement, Richmond County investigators said Monday.

Sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles also said his department plans to submit its evidence to the district attorney for possible indictment.

Authorities said Rebecca Sears, 41, of Grovetown, planned to have her son, Christopher Sean Bowers, 19, of Martinez, threaten her with a gun Thursday night as she left her job at Healing Hands Physical Therapy on Augusta's Highland Avenue.

Ms. Sears was supposed to be on the phone with a co-worker at the time, according to sheriff's Sgt. Blaise Dresser. Instead, the son fired the gun, wounding his mother in the leg, Sgt. Dresser said.

Ms. Sears told police a strange man appeared from the bushes as she left work, shot her in the leg, then said if she "didn't have his money it would be her face," according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

"She wasn't real happy about getting shot," Sgt. Dresser said Monday.

She was treated but not hospitalized for her wound.

Ms. Sears and Mr. Bowers are now both charged with murder in the brutal beating of Katherine "Kay" Parsons, 41, who was Ms. Sears' neighbor on Hot Springs Drive, as well as a co-worker.

Last week, authorities said Mrs. Parsons appeared to have interrupted a burglary at her home, but sources familiar with the investigation said they now believe burglary was not a motive in her death.

So far police have refused to discuss what prompted the fatal beating.

On Monday, both Ms. Sears, of 227 Hot Springs Drive, and Mr. Bowers, of the 4000 block of Briarwood Drive, faced Magistrate Judge Dale Jenereaux via videoconference to hear the charges against them.

Although both are also charged with murder, conspiracy allegations might be withdrawn, the magistrate said.

According to arrest warrants filed with the court, authorities allege that Ms. Sears and Mr. Bowers killed Mrs. Parsons between 6:50 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Wednesday after she returned home from taking her son to school.

A deputy was called to her home when a contractor discovered a smashed-in door, and found Mrs. Parsons lying in the garage near a baseball bat and claw hammer believed to have been used in the attack.

She died the next day from head injuries.

The case has generated some national interest. A producer with the NBC news magazine Dateline called The Chronicle on Monday to ask about the slaying and said she is considering a segment on case for a future episode.

Staff Writers Sandy Hodson and Adam Folk contributed to this report.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

ONLINE EXTRA

Click here to read the arrest warrant issued for Christopher Sean Bowers and Rebecca Sears.