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Trial set for Columbia County woman accused of fatally beating neighbor

Posted: October 21, 2011 - 11:45am  |  Updated: October 21, 2011 - 2:18pm
Rebecca Bowers Sears enters the courtroom Oct. 21 for pre-trial motions prior to her April murder trial.  Jackie Riccardi
Jackie Riccardi
Rebecca Bowers Sears enters the courtroom Oct. 21 for pre-trial motions prior to her April murder trial.

A Superior Court judge set a potential date this morning 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 delays.

"We still have to address the issue of getting Mrs. Sears' husband back from Afghanistan," Hamilton said. Raymond J. Sears Jr., is currently deployed with the military.

Sears and her son, Christopher Sean Bowers, 22, are charged with murder in the fatal beating of Laverne "Kay" Parsons.

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 today'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 since the district attorney intends to seek the death penalty.

A date for Bowers' trial has not been set.

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