NEWBERRY - Charges have been changed and bond has been set for a former Union businesswoman accused of poisoning her husband.
The charges against Susan Brooks, 60, of Prosperity, have been changed from attempt to commit murder to attempting to administer poison. Brooks formerly operated Signature Loans in Union.
She is accused to putting medication into something her husband, Mark Hanners, drank.
Authorities say she was trying to kill her husband of four years due to a combination of ongoing business and domestic-related disputes between the couple. The two jointly operate a bar/club on Lake Murray called Marx Marina.
According to a report filed with the Newberry County Sheriff's Office, a confidential informant said that Brooks had made several remarks about attempting to “get rid of her husband.”
“It was very likely that Brooks attempted to get others to assist her in the crime,” said Sheriff Lee Foster.
During Thusday's bond hearing, Investigator Robert Dennis asked for bond to be denied in the case.
Brooks' attorney, Billy Whitney, said that Brooks also inherited 17 acres of land in Union from a brother who died several years ago.
He emphasized Brooks' ties to the area.
“She is not going anywhere,” said Whitney, adding that Brooks has three grandchildren in Whitmire.
Whitney said all of the licenses for the bar and business are under Brooks' name, but that Hanners could operate the business under the license if Brooks is not convicted.
“The only ties she has to Newberry County are in the Prosperity area, where the victim lives,” said Dennis, adding Brooks has connections to Union and Florida.
Dennis said the attempt to kill Hanners was done with forethought and that Brooks tried to recruit the aid of others.
“At first I tried to deny she done this,” Hanners told Magistrate Judge Ron Halfacre. “The more I see and hear, she has no conscience and is conniving. I know what she can do. She needs to stay where she is at.”
Whitney pointed out that Brooks had two sons who died in 1996 and 1997 at the ages of 23 and 29.
“She is a frail woman,” said Whitney, adding that Brooks suffers from high blood pressure, along with thyroid, digestive and nerve problems.
Dennis countered, saying in 1995 Brooks assaulted a police officer in Laurens County and was convicted on a charge of obstruction of justice. She was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended to one year probation.
Magistrate Ron Halfacre said the new charge did not carry enough weight to allow him to deny bond in the case.
The judge stated that to get out of jail, Brooks would have to put up a cash surety bond of $60,000. He said she would have to give the court either $60,000 in cash or put up land that equals that amount in value to hold against her potential flight from the area. Halfacre added Brooks would have to put up the full amount, not 10 percent.
Halfacre instructed Brooks that if she is released on bond, she is to have no contact with her husband, his family, the business or the witnesses in the case.
Brooks said she would be living at 128 Lakewood Drive in Chapin.
Hanners says this is only a few minutes from his house, and became upset that Brooks would be allowed to live in his vicinity.
Brooks remained silent during the hearing, but at times sat and stared at her husband.
An emergency family court hearing has been set for Monday. It is expected that a judge will rule on property matters between the couple at that time.