Death penalty sought in Parsons slaying

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against a Columbia County mother and son accused of fatally beating a Grovetown woman.

District Attorney Ashley Wright confirmed this afternoon that her office filed a notice of intent with Superior Court to seek the death penalty against Rebecca Sears, 41, and her 20-year-old son Christopher Bowers.

Mrs. Sears and Mr. Bowers were indicted by a Columbia County grand jury Wednesday for the murder of 41-year-old Laverne “Kay” Parsons. They also were indicted for armed robbery and burglary.

“It’s appropriate to file it soon after the indictment,” said Mrs. Sears’ lawyer Victor Hawk, whose brother Jacque is defending Mr. Bowers.

The indictment charges Mrs. Sears, of 227 Hot Springs Drive, and Mr. Bowers, of the 4000 block of Briarwood Drive, Martinez, with fatally beating Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. Sears’ next-door neighbor, with a bat and claw hammer.

It also stated that the mother and son stole a gold necklace and a watch from Mrs. Parsons’ home at 229 Hot Springs Drive.

Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano called Mrs. Sears the “mastermind” behind the murderous plan during an April 16 bond hearing and that she instructed Mr. Bowers to fatally beat Mrs. Parsons with a claw hammer.

Mr. Hawk said a death penalty notice won’t change his defense strategy, but it does increase the stakes.

“We look forward to seeing some discovery to see where all this is coming from,” he said.

The discovery phase of the trial likely will start following an arraignment hearing, which Mr. Hawk said he expects to take place in the next two to three weeks.

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