Local News

Raleigh woman pleads not guilty in death of husband's ex

Posted November 5, 2013

Amanda Hayes, accused of murder and accessory after the fact to murder in the July 13, 2011, death of Laura Ackerson, speaks to her attorney Rosemary Godwin during a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 5, 2013, at the Wake County Justice Center in Raleigh.

— A Raleigh woman implicated along with her husband in the death two years ago of his ex-girlfriend pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder and accessory after the fact to murder in the case.

Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, was formally arraigned in a Wake County courtroom during a hearing regarding her upcoming trial in the July 13, 2011, death of Laura Jean Ackerson, 27, of Kinston.

Hayes' husband, Grant Ruffin Hayes, 34, was convicted of the crime in September and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jury selection in Amanda Hayes' trial is set for Jan. 20.

Defense attorney Johnny Gaskins denies the murder charge against Amanda Hayes, saying evidence at her husband's trial "clearly exonerates" her.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens, however, said that was a question for a jury to decide.

Witnesses testified in Grant Hayes' case that he and Ackerson were involved in a custody dispute over their two young sons and that he lured her to his apartment, killed her, cut up her body and disposed of the remains in a creek near the Texas home of Amanda Hayes' sister.

Defense attorneys for Grant Hayes contended that Amanda Hayes actually killed Ackerson during an argument and that their client only helped cover up the crime.

Amanda Hayes' attorneys, however, have suggested in court documents that their client was under duress and participated in the crime because she feared for her life as well as the lives of Ackerson's sons and her 1-month-old daughter.

But the state has said that both of the Hayeses were equally culpable in the crime.

Although they did not provide details of Amanda Hayes' involvement during Grant Hayes' trial, prosecutors played security video of her dumping cartons of acid at the end of a rural street in Texas.

Grant Hayes had been recorded on security video purchasing the chemical, which prosecutors contended was initially used to try to destroy Ackerson's remains.

Medical examiners were never able to determine exactly how Ackerson died.


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  • anotherbabyboomer Nov 6, 2013

    I think they both are guilty and they both said the other one did it. Didn't work for him and I don't think it will work for her.

  • tierneemalinadeveaux Nov 6, 2013

    Either she knows something that is going to get her acquitted, or she is as crazy as a bedbug, because she is smiling way. way, WAY too much to be facing life or possibly death. Now one thing is for sure...she is GUILTY. She probably didn't commit the actual murder, but she had a hand in it, and she knew her husband's plan all along, which amounted to conspiracy, and I hope she goes away forever just like her crazy husband.

    What I don't understand is how she was able to plead not guilty, when she is all on the security cameras pouring acid.

  • kbird Nov 5, 2013

    Considering that whether or not she can ever hold her children again outside of prison is on the line, you would think she'd wipe that smile off of her face!

  • scubagirl2 Nov 5, 2013

    She certainly is laughing it up with her legal team and appears to not have a care......THAT bothers me. I think she should feel just a little more somber, but then again crazy is crazy

  • anti-Hans Nov 5, 2013

    Good point scuba, hoping ONE juror is dumb enough. Hard to believe but it is very possible.

  • changedmyname Nov 5, 2013

    Maybe she is trying for an insanity defense. Because she sure must be crazy if she thinks she is not guilty.

  • scubagirl2 Nov 5, 2013

    Personally I think she's just as guilty as he is and I'm also a believer that she helped with everything that happened.!

    " how does she plead not guilty? anti-Mako II"
    on the hope that ONE juror will believe .....

  • JAT Nov 5, 2013

    it's all about who actually did the killing. that's the big crime. she can plead she was scared of him so that's why she cut her up; that might let her get parole in 50 years.

  • Danny919 Nov 5, 2013

    She sure has aged

  • OpenM1nd Nov 5, 2013

    Likely story. At least no one is blaming the butler!