Sears and Bowers plead guilty
The Columbia County mother and son sentenced to
life in prison
By Valerie Rowell - NewsTimes.augusta.com
May 11, 2012
A Columbia County mother and son
pled guilty Friday to the 2009 beating death of Laverne “Kay”
Rebecca Bowers Sears, 44, and her
son, Christopher Sean Bowers, 23, offered negotiated guilty pleas
during a sentencing hearing in Evans.
Superior Court Judge Sheryl B.
Jolly sentenced both Sears and Bowers to life in prison without
parole for murder, life in prison for armed robbery and 20 years
for burglary, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
“It was a good resolution to the
case to get it done on both defendants that quickly,” District
Attorney Ashley Wright said after the hearing. “I hate to say
‘that quickly’ three years later.”
Columbia County sheriff’s deputies
found a beaten and bloody Parsons in the garage of her Grovetown
home in March 2009. Authorities accused Sears and Bowers of
beating her to death with a bat and a claw hammer.
“She’d been beaten very severely,”
Wright said. “She’d been struck numerous times.”
Deputies arrested the mother and
son a few days later. Both were indicted on murder, armed robbery
and burglary charges in April 2010.
In previous court appearances,
prosecutors said Sears had an affair with Parson’s husband and
orchestrated the murder to eliminate her romantic rival.
To try and derail the
investigation, Sears and Bowers staged a shooting days following
Parsons’ murder. Though Bowers meant only to threaten his mother
with a gun before a “witness” listening from Sears’ mobile phone,
he actually pulled the trigger and shot Sears in the leg in front
of her Augusta workplace, said Richmond County sheriff’s
District Attorney Ashley Wright
intended to seek the death penalty.
“I think it is an appropriate case
for the death penalty,” Wright said, adding that the pleas avoid
the trauma of trials on the families involved. “It is, quite
frankly, one of the grisliest murders I have ever seen.”
Attorneys for Sears and Bowers
negotiated the guilty plea to avoid the possibility of lethal
Death penalty trial of
Columbia County woman might happ
By Valerie Rowell - NewsTimes.augusta.com
October 21, 2011
A Superior Court judge set a potential date
Friday for the death penalty trial of a Columbia County woman
accused of murdering her neighbor and alleged romantic rival.
The trial of Rebecca Bowers Sears, 43, will likely start in April.
Superior Court Judge Sheryl Jolly tentatively set aside three
weeks after Masters Week for the trial in Evans.
Sears’ lead defense attorney, Newell Hamilton,
said he doesn’t expect to file any more motions to continue the
case, but there are still issues to deal with that might pose
“We still have to address the issue of getting
Mrs. Sears’ husband back from Afghanistan,” Hamilton said. Raymond
J. Sears Jr. is deployed with the military.
Sears and her son, Christopher Sean Bowers, 22,
are charged with murder in the fatal beating of Laverne “Kay”
On March 25, 2009, Parsons was found in her
garage beaten to death with a bat and a claw hammer. Sears and
Bowers were arrested a few days later. Both were indicted on
murder, armed robbery and burglary charges in April 2010.
Sears was allegedly having an affair with
Parson’s husband, David.
At Friday’s hearing to consider pre-trial
motions, Hamilton voiced objections about including portions of
victims’ impact statements as evidence in the trial. He
specifically objected to a question asking how the victim’s family
was emotionally or psychologically affected by her death.
“We think that entire question is inappropriate
and a problem,” Hamilton said.
Jolly ruled to allow the statements, but agreed
to reconsider the motion once Hamilton submits a brief describing
his objections in more detail.
By law, Sears and Bowers must be tried
separately because the district attorney intends to seek the death
A date for Bowers’ trial has not been set.
Mother and son indicted in Grovetown murder
By Katie Beasley - Wrdw.com
April 22, 2009
GROVETOWN, Ga.---A Columbia County mother and
son face more charges in the death of 41-year old Kay Parsons.
Parsons was found beaten in her Grovetown home last month.
Indictments were handed down today from the
Columbia County grand jury. 41-year old Rebecca Sears and her
20-year old son Christopher Bowers are each now charged with
burglary, armed robbery, and murder.
The indictment lays out the charges and says
Bowers and Sears robbed Parsons, stole her jewelry off her body
during the attack, but one question has yet to be answered and
In the last month prosecutors have slowly
unveiled a plot to kill 41-year old Kay Parsons. Her next door
neighbor, Rebecca Sears is being called the mastermind and her
son, Christopher Bowers, the attacker.
Both have now been indicted in Parsons' murder.
According to the grand jury indictment both
Sears and Bowers are facing four charges: burglary, armed robbery,
malice murder and felony murder.
The indictment goes on to say during the
burglary Parsons' was robbed and a gold necklace and watch were
taken off her body. At some point she was beaten with a bat and a
"Policemen discovered the victim had been
beaten almost to death by a claw hammer in her living room. The
blood trail suggests she fled from Christopher Sean Bowers into
the garage where she was ultimately murdered by the blows from the
claw hammer," says Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano
during a bond hearing last week.
The fourth charge, felony murder, leaves the
option for capital punishment if the District Attorney's office
seeks the death penalty.
Sears' attorney, Victor Hawk, said at last
week's bond hearing he thought all evidence was circumstantial. "I
haven't really heard anything from the state with regard to real
evidence to justify concluding that Rebecca sears killed anyone,"
says Victor Hawk, Rebecca Sears' Defense Attorney.
The indictment cancels the preliminary hearing
that was scheduled for April 29th. The next step will be an
arraignment where Sears and Bowers will both enter a plea on these
new charges. After that, the trial process will begin.
Both Sears and Bowers remain in the Columbia
County jail with no bond.
The million dollar question is still why these
two allegedly killed Parsons. Its one of the many unanswered
questions and the motive has yet to been made public and now with
no preliminary hearing in the immediate future, it may be a little
while longer before it is made public.
Woman, son face charges in
By Donnie Fetter and Jenna Martin -
March 29, 2009
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
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
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.
Mother/son murder plot?
By Katie Beasley - Wrdw.com
NASHVILLE---It was a murder that shocked a suburban Columbia
County, Ga. neighborhood. Kay Parsons, a wife and mother, was
beaten to death in her home. Her neighbor, Becky Sears, and Sears'
son, Christopher Bowers, are charged in her death.
It's been nearly eleven months, and attorneys say it will be at
least that much longer before this case goes to trial.
For the first time since the murder, the suspect's husband is
speaking out and standing by his wife and stepson. News 12 spoke
with Tony Sears at his family's new home in Nashville.
This February, Kay Parsons would have turned 42 years old. This
month her next door neighbor, Becky Sears, also celebrated her
42nd birthday--behind bars.
For Tony Sears, the
last ten months have been like a nightmare he can't wake up from,
a whirlwind that's turned his family upside down.
"Can Daddy have a kiss?" Tony Sears asked, sharing a quick moment
with his youngest son. It's a moment his wife Becky is missing out
"It's tough, real tough. All of us miss her
so much. My whole world's changed," Tony told News 12.
Tony's whole world changed on March 25. That's when his neighbor,
Kay Parsons, was found beaten nearly to death in her home. The
back door was smashed, and a blood trail led investigators to the
garage and her lifeless body. A claw hammer and baseball bat lay
next to her. Parsons died hours later at the hospital.
"She was an innocent victim. She dropped her child off at school,
she came back home and was murdered," Columbia County Sheriff's
Captain Steve Morris told News 12 in March of 2009.
"It's terrible, I can't even think about it. I don't even know
what to think about it," said Tony.
next door neighbor, Becky Sears, and her two sons, Michael and
Christopher Bowers, were all questioned at the scene. Becky
claimed her home had also been burglarized. Investigators say that
was just the beginning of a mother and son's elaborate plot to
cover their tracks. Prosecutors call Becky the mastermind, and
Christopher the killer.
Since their arrest, the
two have been in the Columbia County jail awaiting trial for
charges of burglary, armed robbery, and murder.
"Do you think she's guilty?" we asked Tony.
no," he replied.
"No doubt in your mind?"
"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind," Tony said.
"They're calling her a mastermind, but saying that he beat a woman
to death. Is that any part of him that you've ever known?" we
"Personally, I couldn't see him doing
something like that," Tony said.
Alexander, Becky's sister, has been at the Nashville home to help
Tony and his boys. Her family is also helping to pay for her
sister and nephew's defense.
"No doubt in your
mind she's innocent?" we asked Rene'.
whatsoever," Rene' said. "I know my sister and I know my nephew. I
know the things that they're capable of and this is not one of
Rene' and Tony say Becky's three boys ask
about their mother all the time.
understand?" we asked.
"Not really," Rene' said.
"It's just been really heart-wrenching, because every time the
boys come up and give me a big hug, I think, 'This is what Becky's
missing.' Every time some milestone happens, I think, 'She's never
gonna get this back.'"
"They were two, five, and
13, and now they're three, six, and 14. So she's missed a few
birthdays," Rene' went on.
"Becky's afraid that
the smaller boys will forget her in time, so I keep bringing them
down there for visitation," Tony said.
people wonder if Becky and Christopher are innocent, there's no
doubt about the fact that the other children are completely
innocent," said Rene'.
Tony and Rene' say seeing
Becky and Christopher in those shackles and orange jumpsuits never
gets any easier.
"You can look into their eyes
and see that their spirit is still there," Rene' said. "They're
still holding tight. But it's just, your heart breaks for them
every time you see them."
"It's extremely hard,
and to hear how she's being treated, it just doesn't seem fair,"
Tony said of his wife. "She's doing as well as expected."
In 2002, News 12 talked with Becky and two of her boys about lake
safety. Now that interview offers a snapshot of their lives before
courtrooms, handcuffs, and murder charges.
"She's not that type of person that would be so cruel and
vindictive and just--it was a heinous crime, just heinous, and
neither of them are heinous people," said Rene'.
The family says the most hurtful part is feeling like they've
already been found guilty before they even step into the
"I think what bothers us the most is
they're so set on Becky and Christopher they aren't even looking
for the real person who has done this," said Tony.
"You feel like they've already been tried and convicted in the
court of public opinion, and you can kind of understand it,
because, you see, here's this woman with this lovely child and
this terrible thing happens to her," Rene' said. "You immediately
want someone to blame. You immediately want a reason why. You
don't want it to be a random act, because you don't want to think
it could happen to you."
News 12 reached out to
Kay's husband, David Parsons, but neither he nor Kay's family in
Pennsylvania wanted to comment.
NASHVILLE---It was a murder that
grabbed just about everyone's attention. It's been nearly eleven
months since Columbia County wife and mother Kay Parsons was
beaten to death in her home.
Her neighbor, Becky
Sears, and Sears' son, Christopher Bowers are both charged in her
It's a murder that can sometimes sound
more like a made-for-TV movie, with allegations of an affair,
plotting murder schemes, and an elaborate plan to cover it all up.
For the first time since the murder, the suspect's husband is
speaking out and standing by his wife and stepson.
News 12 has a closer look at the evidence in
Through incident reports, search
warrants, and indictments, prosecutors paint Becky Sears as a
calculating mother and Christopher a loyal son driven to murder.
It's a picture their family says couldn't possibly be true.
With his wife and stepson behind bars, Tony Sears now lives in
Nashville with his three young sons.
kids and with my job, I'm pretty busy, so it kind of takes my mind
off it," Tony told News 12.
"You go to sleep one
night and you wake up the next day and your entire life has
changed," said Rene' Alexander, Becky's sister. Rene' has been
helping Tony with the children since Becky was put in jail.
Several lives changed that cool, spring morning in March. A man
doing work on a Grovetown house noticed a broken door and called
911. Deputies followed a blood trail through the home to the
garage, where they found the near lifeless body of Kay Parsons.
Kay had been beaten with a claw hammer and baseball bat. She died
at the hospital.
"This is one of the saddest, if
not the saddest case we've investigated in a long, long time,"
said Columbia County Sheriff's Captain Steve Morris in March 2009.
At the hospital, investigators say Kay's next-door neighbor and
co-worker Rebecca Sears demanded to know Kay's condition. It was a
red flag, and the investigation narrowed to Sears and her then
19-year-old son, Christopher Bowers.
to a search warrant, "a confidential informant advised he believed
Rebecca Sears was responsible for or involved in the murder of
Mrs. Parsons." The confidential informant also stated that on
"more than one occasion Mrs. Sears asked him to kill Mrs.
Parsons...[the] confidential informant stated Mrs. Sears asked her
sons, Christopher Bowers and Michael Bowers, to murder Mrs.
"It's terrible, I can't even think
about it," Tony said. "I don't even know what to think about it."
So why would Becky Sears allegedly want Kay Parsons dead?
The confidential informant said "he had personal knowledge of Mrs.
Sears being involved in a romantic relationship with Mrs. Parsons'
Husband, David Parsons."
Becky's oldest son,
Michael Bowers, also told investigators "he believed his mother
was involved in a romantic relationship with David Parsons."
He said "his mother showed him text messages on her phone that
made it clear she was having an affair with someone. His mother
made it clear to Michael that she wished she knew someone who
would kill someone for her."
"What do you think
about the prosecution's claim that she was having an affair?" News
12 asked Tony Sears.
"I'd rather not talk about
that," Tony replied.
The suspicious activity
doesn't end there. The day after the murder, Becky Sears reported
being shot in the leg and threatened about money outside Healing
Hands, the clinic were she worked.
Prosecutors say the gunshot wound was "later
discovered to have been inflicted by" Christopher as part of a
scheme to perhaps shift the focus.
"Let's just wait and see how the facts turn
out," Rene' said.
News 12 interviewed Becky
Sears in a report about car insurance months before the murder.
She's seen filling up a white Ford F-250 truck, the same one
parked at Christopher's home after the murder. Crime scene
analysts found "blood on the driver's side door, on the parking
brake, and on the seat".
The search warrants
build a timeline for what Becky Sears allegedly told investigators
happened that morning: "Christopher hid in her room in her
house...[He] went to the backyard and waited for Mrs. Parsons to
leave...then used a hammer and broke in the back door...[He] went
upstairs and staged a burglary."
the warrant, Becky went on to say Christopher told her that he
"beat the **** out of her", and after the murder Christopher "went
back to her house and entered through the back door...staged the
burglary at her house and then left. Rebecca stated Christopher
called her and told her to pick him up...when she [did] He had
blood on his face and he said he took care of everything."
"Rebecca stated Christopher changed his clothes in her car and
placed his bloody clothes in a backpack," the warrant continues.
At a bond hearing in April, an assistant district attorney stated,
"The blood trail suggests [Kay Parsons] fled from Christopher Sean
Bowers into the garage where she was ultimately murdered by the
blows from the claw hammer."
"Could the Becky
you know be capable of something like this? I mean, they call her
a mastermind, that she orchestrated this," we asked Tony Sears.
"No," Tony answered. "I don't believe none of that, and I believe
Arrested two days after the
murder, Becky and Christopher have spent the last ten months in a
Columbia County jail.
"It just doesn't seem fair," Tony said. "I've
always thought, 'Well you're in jail. It's not supposed to be
fair.' Until something like this does happen, then you realize
what they're going through."
going for the death penalty for both mother and son.
"Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I've actually had to stop
reading the newspapers and blogs...the stuff that people write,"
Tony said. "I mean, it's gut-wrenching what they think should be
done to Becky and Christopher."
Tony and his
sister-in-law both say thoughts about the death penalty do creep
into their minds.
"You already know what's
already at the end of the trial," Tony said. "I try not to think
about it too much. I don't want to think about it."
"You have to plan for the worst and hope for the best," said
Months away from a trial, this family can
"We are going to stand behind them
all the way through and just hope and pray the truth comes out and
we'll all be back together again," said Rene'.
"What keeps me sane is I know that soon it will be over and the
truth will come out," Tony said.
attorneys say murder trials will likely come early next year.
Becky and Christopher will be tried separately. The defense has
filed for a change of venue for both trials.