Amanda Hayes faces accessory charge in Kinston woman's murder
Posted October 8, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County grand jury returned an additional indictment Monday for accessory after the fact of murder against a Raleigh woman already facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of her husband's ex-girlfriend.
Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, along with her husband, Grant Ruffin Hayes, 34, was arrested July 25, 2011, in connection with the death of Laura Jean Ackerson, of Kinston.
Investigators say the 27-year-old Ackerson was last seen alive by the Hayeses on July 13, 2011, and that her dismembered remains were discovered 11 days later in a creek near the Richmond, Texas, home of Amanda Hayes' sister.
Grant Hayes was convicted of first-degree murder last month and is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Amanda Hayes is set to go to trial in January.
Her defense attorney, Johnny Gaskins, had no comment Tuesday about the new indictment, and Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said the murder charge has not been dropped.
Over the course of Grant Hayes' three-week murder trial, witnesses testified that he and Ackerson were embroiled in a bitter custody dispute over their two young sons and that he lured her to his apartment, killed her, cut up her body, packed it in ice coolers and then drove with his family to Texas to dispose of the remains.
Defense attorneys pointed the finger at Amanda Hayes, saying she confessed to killing Ackerson during an argument and that he was guilty only of trying to help her cover up the crime – "a terrible thing" but not murder.
Amanda Hayes' attorneys, however, have filed several motions indicating that their client was under duress and participated in the crime because she feared for her life as well as the lives of Ackerson's sons and her 1-month-old daughter.
But the state has said that both of the Hayeses were equally culpable in the crime.
Although they did not provide details of Amanda Hayes' involvement during her husband's trial, prosecutors played security video of her dumping cartons of muriatic acid at the end of a rural street in Texas.
Grant Hayes had been recorded on security video purchasing the chemical, which prosecutors contended was initially used to try to destroy Ackerson's remains.