Prosecutors expect a delay in a hearing scheduled this month for a Grovetown woman charged in the fatal beating of a romantic rival and neighbor.
Rebecca Sears, 42, met with a Superior Court judge in a closed hearing last week in Evans with only Sears, her lawyers and court personnel.
After the hearing, prosecutors were informed that Augusta attorney Victor Hawk was no longer representing Sears.
That decision likely will delay an evidentiary hearing scheduled for Dec. 17 while Sears' new lawyers "get up to speed," Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ashley Wright said in an e-mail.
The Georgia Capital Defenders' office, a branch of the state Public Defender Standards Council, will provide two attorneys to represent Sears, Wright said. Those attorneys specialize in cases in which prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.
Hawk said Friday that one of those attorneys will be Stacey Morris.
After a disagreement over the direction the defense should take, Hawk said that he, Sears and Morris agreed to part ways.
"We have a fundamental difference of opinion on how her case should be prepared and how it should be presented," he said. "I would not agree to be second chair and follow the lead of Miss Stacey Morris."
Hawk refused to comment on details of the disagreement. A phone message left for Morris with the Atlanta office of Capital Defenders was not immediately returned.
Sears, of the 200 block of Hot Springs Drive, and her son, Christopher Sean Bowers, 21, of the 4000 block of Briarwood Drive, are charged in the death of Sears' next-door neighbor, Laverne "Kay" Parsons.
On March 25, 2009, Parsons was found in her garage beaten to death with a baseball 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 2009.
Authorities suspect that Sears orchestrated Parsons' death to pursue an affair with Parsons' husband, David Parsons. Prosecutors have said that Sears and Bowers ransacked the victim's home to make it appear that Parsons' death resulted from a home invasion gone wrong.
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