Brother: Neumar didn#8217;t murder first husband

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving 1950 when 18-year-old Betty Johnson became the bride of Clarence Malone, 19, in an evening wedding at the Tenth Street Tabernacle in Ironton.

In just two days Betty would turn 19 and the photograph in The Ironton Evening Tribune that accompanied her wedding announcement shows a pretty brunette with an engaging smile. The daughter of Odis and Elizabeth Walden Johnson, Betty had graduated from South Point High in 1949 and her new husband, now with the C&O Railroad, was in the Ironton High School class of

the same year.

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More than a half-century later, there’s a new photograph of Betty circulating.

It is the booking mug shot of a 76-year-old woman, now with the married name of Betty Neumar, taken after she was charged last month in North Carolina with the solicitation of murder in the death of her fourth husband. Harold Gentry was found shot to death 22 years ago.

In a case that has spread over the Internet in a frenzy of news stories and transcripts from cable talk shows, the question is parried: Is this another story of a black widow serial killer?

Investigators in North Carolina have urged law enforcement agencies in the other states where Betty lived to look into the deaths of her other husbands, according to the Associated Press.

Some news accounts state that Clarence Malone, Betty’s first husband, died in 1952 under suspicious circumstances which has fueled those accusations.

However, The Ironton Tribune in an interview with Malone’s youngest brother, Robert, has learned that Malone and Betty divorced soon after their marriage. Robert said he adamantly believes

Betty was not involved in his brother’s murder.

“She did not kill my brother. My brother was in the Korean war. They divorced around 1951 or 1952,” Robert Malone, now living in Boone, Iowa, said. “In 1969 or 1970 my mother called and said he was shot.”

The Social Security Death Index lists a Clarence Malone with the correct birth date of the Ironton resident with a death date of November 1970. His Social Security card was issued in Ohio.

By that time, Clarence Malone was in the trucking business and had been married at least two more times, living in the Medina area, his brother recalled.

“I am 11 when he goes to Korea. He always walked on the edge. He was in the trucking business and got some cross ways with some people. He got murdered,” the brother said.

Ironton High classmate Leroy Haas remembers Malone as a heavy-set teen with a belligerent attitude.

“He was always hard to get along with,” Haas recalled recently.

Now, authorities in Monroe County, Fla., are looking into the death of Betty’s third of her five husbands – Richard Sills –

that happened more than 40 years ago.

Sills was found shot to death in his apartment in 1965. At that time authorities ruled the death a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

“At the time of his death it was not deemed to be suspicious,” Becky Herrin, Monroe County’s sheriff’s department spokesperson, told The Ironton Tribune. “We are trying to see if there are files in existence that we can examine. We know there are no records in the Medical Examiners office. But we have not yet finished looking for files in our office. That is the status. We are still looking.”

According to The Associated Press, Neumar married Sills after her second marriage to James Flynn which ended in his death, which has not been ruled suspicious to date.

Neumar’s last husband, John Neumar, died in October 2007, whose death AP reports listed officially as sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood and tissues.

Currently, Neumar is in the Stanly County Jail under a $500,000 bond. According to court records on the Internet, she has a court date July 14. She has yet to be indicted according to a court clerk.