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Verdict watch continues Wednesday in Amanda Hayes murder trial

Posted February 18

— A Wake County jury deliberated for more than six hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict in the trial of a Raleigh woman accused of killing her husband's ex-girlfriend's and dumping her remains in a Texas creek nearly three years ago.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger Amanda Hayes trial closing arguments

Amanda Hayes, 41, faces is charged with first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in the Ackerson's July 13, 2011, death.

Wake County prosecutors, say she hated Ackerson – the mother of her husband Grant Hayes' two young sons – because of a bitter child custody dispute and that the couple wanted to "erase" her from their lives.

Defense attorneys, however, argued that it was Grant Hayes who killed Ackerson and then hid the crime from his wife until he needed her help disposing of the body.

She only helped, they say, because she was under duress.

The 12 jurors – three men and nine women – spent most of Tuesday behind closed doors, taking only an hour from deliberations for a lunch break and then a mid-afternoon break for about 20 minutes.

They asked to see – and were granted access to – Ackerson's diary and notebooks in which she recorded her interactions and phone calls with the Hayeses. They also saw a handwritten note between her and Grant Hayes in which she purportedly agreed to give up the custody fight for $25,000.

Witnesses testified that Ackerson never would have agreed to such a custody deal, and although a handwriting expert verified that the body of the note was in Ackerson's handwriting, the expert couldn't reach a conclusion about the authenticity of the signature.

Another item of interest for the jury: a Skil reciprocating saw identical to the one the state says Grant Hayes bought at a Walmart hours after Ackerson's death.

But Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens only allowed them to view it from the jury box and would not allow for it to be turn on, since neither the prosecution nor defense did so during the trial's evidence phase.

The jury has six potential verdicts to consider.

On the charge of murder, it can consider guilty verdicts of first-degree or second-degree murder, as well as not guilty.

If the jury finds Amanda Hayes not guilty of murder, it must then consider accessory after the fact to murder in either the first-degree or second-degree. It can also consider not guilty.

The jury received the case at 4 p.m. Monday and deliberated for about an hour and 15 minutes.

By 10 a.m., Tuesday – after 30 minutes – the jury had already deliberated longer than the four men and eight women in Grant Hayes' murder trial last fall.

In September, a jury found him guilty in less than two hours of first-degree murder.

Serving a life sentence at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, he has maintained that his wife accidentally killed Ackerson during an argument and that the only thing he did wrong was help with the cover-up because he loved her and wanted to protect her.

36 Comments

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  • tigresspen Feb 19, 3:57 p.m.

    Not first like I wanted but I'll take that second degree verdict happily... Thank you Jurors for your service. Well Done!

  • Lena Feb 19, 3:46 p.m.

    I don't see them cutting up Laura in the bathroom without the reciprocating saw leaving marks on... View More

    — Posted by needmocash

    I think if he took her elsewhere and dismembered her then he'd have dumped her somewhere else... View More

    — Posted by tigresspen

    Recip saw is not at all like a chain saw... it is very easy to control; even for a woman. Grant could have easily used saw without blade marks on bathroom. That was just another distraction by the defense. It may have worked.

  • needmocash Feb 19, 3:30 p.m.

    I don't see them cutting up Laura in the bathroom without the reciprocating saw leaving marks on... View More

    — Posted by needmocash

    I think if he took her elsewhere and dismembered her then he'd have dumped her somewhere else... View More

    — Posted by tigresspen

  • UreapwhatUsow Feb 19, 2:56 p.m.

    They have successfully used the oldest trick in the book; they should have been tried together.... View More

    — Posted by UreapwhatUsow

    and wouldn't that have only worked if neither was found guilty?

    — Posted by TheoryGirl

    The way he portrayed it as being an accidental death caused by Amanda, don't you think that was the plan from the beginning?

  • Mama2bna Feb 19, 2:15 p.m.

    Why can't the jury be shown the video of Sha's testimony, rather than having the transcript... View More

    — Posted by skimchai

    I was thinking the same thing. I missed it - what did the jury decide to do? Wait until tomorrow?

    — Posted by TheoryGirl

    Evidentially, they decided not to pursue it because the judge made the comment, "well if you change your minds let me know by the end of the day so I can have her prepare it tonight".

  • Lena Feb 19, 2:06 p.m.

    The biggest evidence against Hayes are her own words admitting that she was at the apartment and did engage in a confrontation with Laura. She said Laura grabbed her... probably because she though there might be evidence found on the body. The letter that Laura signed is pretty bad. Still, it's starting to look like Hayes might get off. Geese... poor kids.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Feb 19, 1:56 p.m.

    Taking longer than I thought it would - far longer.

    Prayers for the children, the only ones that mattered. I wish they'd mattered more to this woman and their father.

  • TheoryGirl Feb 19, 1:55 p.m.

    Why can't the jury be shown the video of Sha's testimony, rather than having the transcript... View More

    — Posted by skimchai

    I was thinking the same thing. I missed it - what did the jury decide to do? Wait until tomorrow?

  • Obamacare rises again Feb 19, 12:59 p.m.

    At least Grant didn't use Napolean syndrome as a defense to explain all of his pent up anger.

  • skimchai Feb 19, 12:50 p.m.

    Why can't the jury be shown the video of Sha's testimony, rather than having the transcript read. It's not like WRAL edited it, other than maybe blocking out a phone number.

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