Hayes jams in court to song about killing his 'babies' momma'
Posted September 12, 2013
Updated September 13, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Grant Hayes sat rocking to the beat of his own music Thursday afternoon as jurors in his first-degree murder trial for the death of his ex-girlfriend heard a recording of him singing to his "babies' momma," in which he talked of killing her.
"My babies' momma, don't talk to me. Don't want your drama. I got two kids by you. I can't take any more from you," he sings in the recording.
The song, "Broomstick Rider," goes on: "I put a price tag on your head. You must have told your attorney I got intentions on killing you."
The state – after calling 47 witnesses and introducing more than 500 pieces of evidence over the last two weeks – rested its case immediately after letting the jury of four men and eight women hear the lyrics.
Wake County prosecutors contend it was a bitter custody dispute between Hayes – a local musician – and Laura Jean Ackerson over their 2- and 3-year-old sons that led him to plan her July 13, 2011, death, dismember her body and carry it 1,200 miles in coolers to Texas, where he dumped her remains in a creek near the home of his wife's older sister, Karen Berry.
Ackerson's skull, split torso, and pieces of her leg were found 11 days after she disappeared.
Defense attorneys contend Hayes' wife, Amanda Hayes, killed Ackerson during an argument at the Hayeses' Raleigh apartment and that their client was covering up his wife's actions, because he didn't think anyone would believe the attack was unplanned.
Testifying as the first witness for the defense, Berry said that a day after the Hayeses arrived at her home in Richmond, Texas, her sister took her aside for a conversation.
"She came in, and she told me that she had hurt Laura and that she had hurt her bad, and she needed to talk to me," Berry said.
They went outside, Berry said, where Grant Hayes joined the discussion in which they asked if there was anywhere on her property that had a big hole.
"Sometime during that time, I told them that it was my belief that if something was really, really bad, it would be best to tell the truth and that I knew an attorney we could go talk to if they needed an attorney," Berry said.
Her sister, however, never offered any other details about what happened to Ackerson, and Berry said she didn't ask.
"Do you remember what Amanda told you when she said she hurt Laura?" defense attorney Jeff Cutler asked.
"She said that Laura had told her that she had taken Laura's kids and that she was going to take hers away from her," Berry replied, clarifying that Ackerson was talking about Amanda Hayes' 1-month-old daughter.
Berry said, though, that she wasn't surprised several days after the Hayeses left when Raleigh police detectives came knocking on her door and asked her if she thought Ackerson was there.
"I told them I was afraid she was," Berry said.
Police interviewed her three times, during which she told them that, on another occasion, she pulled Amanda Hayes aside.
"I had her sit down beside me just like I did when she was a kid," Berry said. "I asked her if she was covering for Grant. She didn't say anything verbally. She looked me straight in the eye. She shook her head and went – "
Berry nodded her head up and down.
Attorneys for Amanda Hayes, who is set to go to trial for Ackerson's death in January, have indicated in court documents that her husband coerced her into participating in the crime and that she did so under duress.
Grant Hayes' attorneys, however, say Amanda Hayes was the one who took charge in the aftermath to cover up what happened.
But Raleigh police detective Jerry Faulk testified earlier Thursday that it was Grant Hayes who made the numerous purchases to aid in the cover-up in the hours and days afterward, including one at a Texas home improvement store in which he bought several containers of acid.
Security video in the 2 a.m. hour of July 14, 2011, also showed him on an early-morning shopping trip in the Do-It-Yourself section of a local Walmart buying a Skil reciprocating saw, additional blades, industrial trash bags, goggles, gloves and other items.
"(He was) just very inquisitive, just kind of laid back and looking for his items. He wasn't really excited about anything," said Susan Dufur, an assistant manager at the time who helped Hayes pick out the saw.
Also countering the defense's claims, a former inmate at the Wake County Detention Center testified that Grant Hayes told him after his arrest that he lured Ackerson to his apartment under the false pretense of resolving the contentious custody dispute.
But once there, Pablo Trinidad said, Hayes said he and his wife subdued and strangled her.
Faulk also testified to finding in the Hayeses' apartment lyrics to another song, "Man Killer," that talked about strangulation, although he couldn't say when they were written:
"Give into me, I want it all. I want your scream. I want your crawl. I'll make you bleed," the song goes.
It continues: "I'm not the one to make you scream. I'm just the one to make you bleed. Don't raise your arms, you can't stop me. I'll put my hands on your throat and squeeze."