My heart is heavy this week as I report on yet another senseless murder of another young mother. Those who knew 27-year-old Laura Ackerson have described her as a beautiful, charismatic woman who worked hard at everything she did, including being a mother to two young boys. She was growing her small marketing business in Kinston, and at the same time, fighting with the father of her two young sons over their custody. Yet, despite the obvious stress in her life, loved ones say Ackerson maintained a positive attitude. She felt like things were going to be okay. Now, Laura Ackerson is dead. Her two little boys have lost their mother, and nothing is "okay" anymore.
Ackerson's former boyfriend, and the father of her two children, Grant Hayes, is charged with her murder along with his wife, Amanda Hayes. Grant and Amanda Hayes have an infant daughter together--another child who has lost both parents.
Another recent example of a young mother being murdered is the case of 23-year-old Amanda Mangum. The Durham mother of three young children called 911 on July 17 and reported that her husband wanted to hurt her hours before she was stabbed to death in restaurant parking lot. Her husband, Kenya Mangum, has been arrested and charged with her murder.
The real tragedy of these cases and other cases like them is that we haven't figured out a way to make the violence stop. Homicide is never justifiable, unless it is in self-defense, or in the defense of others who are in immediate danger. Chances are unless you're a police officer, or a soldier, you will never be in a situation where a question of whether or not to use violence will come into play. These cases are still in the beginning stages of investigation, but based on the arrests, authorities are clearly labeling them as domestic homicides. If the facts of these cases end up supporting this label, Ackerson and Mangum will be added to the growing list of women in our area killed by someone they once loved.