Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and disposing of her dismembered body in a Texas creek has asked a Superior Court judge, for a second time, for a new public defender.
Grant Ruffin Hayes, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Jean Ackerson, 27, of Kinston.
Judge Donald Stephens granted Hayes' request for a new attorney during a hearing Tuesday but told Hayes that it was the last time he could do so.
Hayes filed a handwritten motion in September 2011, asking Stephens to relieve attorney Jim Freeman as counsel in his case. Attorney Mike Klinkosum was later assigned to Hayes' case.
Both attorneys cited ethical issues in defending Hayes, but neither have commented on what those issues might be.
Ackerson is believed to have been in Raleigh before she was reported missing in July 2011. Her remains were found July 24, 2011, in a creek in Richmond, Texas, about 60 miles south of Houston.
Hayes' wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, 40, is also charged with first-degree murder.
Raleigh police haven't commented on a motive, but Ackerson's relatives say she and Hayes were involved in a contentious child custody battle.