ALBEMARLE, N.C. – A former police officer and a neighbor said Wednesday that a Georgia grandmother who now has five dead spouses tried to hire them to kill her fourth husband more than two decades ago.
Former police officer Allen Lawrence said he had warned North Carolina authorities repeatedly for two months before Harold Gentry was shot to death in 1986 that Betty Gentry – now Betty Neumar – wanted her husband dead.
Neumar was desperate for money and wanted to collect on her husband’s $20,000 life insurance policy, according to an indictment issued Tuesday.
“I’ve been living with this for 22 years, wondering if there was anything else I could have done,” Lawrence said. “It’s always bothered me. I know I did everything I could. But it still keeps me up at night.”
Neumar, 76, is charged with three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. She was first arrested and charged in May with one solicitation count, but authorities now say she tried to hire three different people to kill Gentry in the six weeks before his bullet-riddled body was found in his rural North Carolina home.
Since her arrest, authorities in Georgia, Ohio and Florida have started to re-examine the deaths of her first child and four of the five men she married.
Neumar’s attorney, Charles Parnell, did not return messages left Wednesday seeking comment. His client remains in Stanly County jail on a $500,000 bond.
The indictment accuses Neumar of trying to hire Lawrence and two women, Debbie Parker and Kathy Eudy, to kill Gentry. Parker is Lawrence’s sister-in-law, and both women were Neumar’s neighbors.
“It got to the point where all she would talk about was how much she hated Harold,” Eudy said.
“She said he was cheating on her and she wanted to get him back. … Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I stopped going over there.”