Local News

Emails offer glimpse into Ackerson's relationship with Amanda Hayes

Posted February 7, 2014

Amanda Hayes, left, and one of her attorneys, Rosemary Godwin, listen to testimony during Hayes' first-degree murder trial on Feb. 6, 2014. (Chad Flowers/WRAL)

— A forensics computer analyst with the Raleigh Police Department found dozens of emails between Laura Ackerson and her ex-boyfriend and his wife, Amanda Hayes, on the slain 27-year-old's computer, giving jurors in Hayes' first-degree murder trial a closer look at a child custody fight between the three.

McKensie DeHaan Amanda Hayes murder trial testimony (Day 9)

Courtney Last, on Thursday, guided the three men and nine women of the jury through months of messages leading up to and following Ackerson's July13, 2011, death that included her and Grant Hayes arguing about their two young sons, their different parenting styles and provisions of a temporary custody order, including phone calls with the boys and how to act around them.

There were also emails that touched on the relationship between Ackerson and Amanda Hayes.

"I would like to address the attitude you have toward me in front of my children, though. I understand that Grant III has probably told you that I am the worst person in the world, among whatever else was useful for him to say in the moment," Ackerson wrote in an email on Oct. 24, 2010.

She goes on:

"If you could please contain yourself in front of them, it would be appreciated. If you have something you would like to say to me, I totally understand and welcome it – just when they are not in earshot."

Amanda Hayes responded on Oct. 30, 2010:

"I'm not too sure what you're talking about at all. If there were ill feelings over the exchange last Sunday, they were not on this side of the family."

In a follow-up email in the same exchange, Amanda Hayes invited Ackerson to join the family for Thanksgiving.

"I think the boys would enjoy that. What do you say? Holidays are important, and these memories will be in their photo album. They don't have to know 'this' was happening."

Grant Hayes also sent at least two emails to Ackerson after her death. One was at 4:08 a.m. on July 15, 2011, asking her if she would like to keep the boys for a week, and another nine hours later asking her not to talk to him at the weekly custody exchange planned for later that day at a Wilson gas station.

"I mean, seriously, we are trying to reach a settlement and you go dark on me after agreeing to, shall I say, ‘certain terms,’" Grant Hayes wrote. "Yes, REAL F----D UP."

"I have NOTHING more to say to you until I hear from your attorney," he added.

Jurors also saw a security video from the gas station on July 15, 2011, in which Grant Hayes waited with the boys for more than an hour for Ackerson to arrive.

But Wake County prosecutors say she was already dead after the Hayeses killed her and dismembered her body in their Raleigh apartment two days earlier.

Still, a crime scene analyst testified Thursday, investigators found no blood evidence in the apartment – only a tiny spot that possibly could have been blood on a mattress cover that was sent for further testing.

Shannon Quick, with the City-County Bureau of Identification, however, said bleach could have eliminated any blood evidence.

Earlier in her testimony, she noted a large bleach stain on some carpet in the apartment, and a Raleigh police detective, earlier this week, testified that investigators also recovered an empty bleach container from the Hayeses' trash.

What was found in the apartment, however, was a handwritten note, dated July 13, 2011, by both Ackerson and Grant Hayes in which it appeared as if Ackerson consented to giving up the custody fight in exchange for $25,000.

Lindsey Dyn, a forensic document analyst with the FBI, said the handwriting matched a sample of Grant Hayes' writing and writing from Ackerson's diary, but she couldn’t determine if Ackerson had actually signed and dated the note.

Those who knew Ackerson, however, have testified that she would never have given up the custody fight and that she was optimistic that she would get full custody at a hearing that had been scheduled for August 2011.



This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • joybanger Feb 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    But Amanda and Grant were both named in the original sentence written by Dr. Calloway, as in "It's as though they (Amanda and Grant) want to obliterate her".

  • appstate1996 Feb 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I like your theory. They had to do something to lessen the amount of blood if they used the saw Grant purchased. That would have mad a mess I would think. Can not believe we are even talking about type of brutiality!!

  • eyeoneastsky Feb 7, 2014

    Joy Banger, Everybody now knows Grant wanted to obliterate Laura but so far no evidence that Amanda wanted that. I am sure her attorney does not want her name in the same sentence with the word obliterate. He is trying to prove she was brain washed by Grant and afraid of him and that is the only reason she helped him "obliterate" Laura's body. But as another pointed out, she had ample opportunities to call the police as did her sister in Texas before the body was dumped in the swamp.

  • tigresspen Feb 7, 2014

    Joybanger: Good question. I guess it could be prejudicial to the state since it concerns Grant's personality and not Amanda's ...

  • eyeoneastsky Feb 7, 2014

    JIMMYTWOTIMES, My theory is they punctured a vessel in her neck and drained as much blood from her body as possible before cutting her up and then putting her on a tarp and dragging her to a car. They probably had the water running the whole time they were draining her blood. I wonder if the detectives thought to check the amount of water used that day. One of the forensic reports yesterday said she had a puncture wound in one of the neck vertebrae at level C-4. There are 7 cervical vertebrae. There is no telling what was done to the poor woman before she died. The acid did it's job to cover up evidence. People should have to show a picture ID to buy acid!!

  • canucmypointofview Feb 7, 2014

    @APPSTATE1996 - Good! Must have missed that part, but glad the jury didn't!

  • joybanger Feb 7, 2014

    I don't understand why the judge just ruled that the term "obliterate" (referenced in Ginger Calloway's report) cannot be mentioned in Amanda's trial, but could be mentioned in Grant's trial. The judge said the jury might get the "wrong idea" about what was meant by this word. Anyone have any theories about why the judge is making this distinction?

  • appstate1996 Feb 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It was show yesterday so that is a sure guilt to me. She had so many times with and without the kids where she was left alone without Grant. She had many times to run and get help or go to the police is she was forced or threatened!

  • In Decisive Feb 7, 2014

    You guys are just not paying any attention. They showed the pictures of her dumping the acid yesterday, with the testimony of a Texas detective.

  • canucmypointofview Feb 7, 2014

    @APPSTATE1996 - Wonder why they didn't show the pictures/video of her dumping the acid that they showed during Grant's trial?? I was SURE they would..