Amanda Hayes made Chick-fil-A run after Ackerson's murder
Posted February 5, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Just hours after Laura Ackerson was last known to be alive on July 13, 2011, Amanda Hayes – on trial for her murder – went to a Raleigh Chick-fil-A with Ackerson's two young sons, a Raleigh police sergeant testified Tuesday.
Sgt. Brian Hall said the 41-year-old, with her 1-month-old daughter also in tow, ordered two kids meals and two adult meals just after 9 p.m., and stayed at the fast-food chain restaurant for about 30 minutes before leaving.
Defense attorneys for Hayes say she had the children out that evening at the urging or her husband, Grant Hayes, because Ackerson, 27, had tripped in their Raleigh apartment and he didn't want her boys – also his sons – to see their mother being treated by EMS workers.
When Amanda Hayes, also charged with accessory to murder, returned home that evening, her attorneys say, Grant Hayes told her Ackerson hit her head, but was fine, and left to return home to Kinston.
Twelve days later, the Hayeses were charged in Ackerson's death after her dismembered remains were recovered in a Texas creek across the street from the home of Amanda Hayes' sister, Karen Berry.
Amanda Hayes didn't kill Ackerson and didn't initially know she had died, the defense says, and only helped dispose of her body because Grant Hayes threatened to kill her and the children.
But Wake County prosecutors say Hayes was resentful of Ackerson, who had been embroiled in a bitter child custody fight with Grant Hayes. Not only did she know about the crime, they say, she admitted to Berry that she hurt Ackerson.
Hall, testifying for about two hours, Tuesday afternoon, also said investigators found several items in the dumpster trash from the couple's apartment, such as a black shower curtain and bath mats that had been missing from a hallway bathroom that had been empty and "practically sterile" when police searched the home.
The state contends the Hayeses cut up Ackerson's body in their home and drove with it in coolers to Richmond, Texas, about 1,200 miles from Raleigh, with the children.
Other items recovered from the trash included the Hayeses' yellow vacuum, several ice bags, two respirator masks, packaging for medium yellow household gloves, blue rubber gloves, a discolored, bleach-stained towel and packaging for a pre-paid cellphone.