Local News

Wake prosecutor: Kinston woman's death was domestic violence

Posted February 4, 2013
Updated April 11, 2013

— Wake County prosecutors getting ready to try a Raleigh man and his wife in the 2011 murder of a Kinston woman say the crime was a case of domestic violence.

Grant Ruffin Hayes, 33, and Amanda Perry Hayes, 40, are both charged with first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Grant Hayes' ex-girlfriend and the mother of two of his children, Laura Jean Ackerson.

Ackerson's remains were found July 24, 2011, in a creek in Richmond, Texas – about 60 miles south of Houston – where Amanda Hayes' sister lives.

"Grant Hayes wanted to remove Laura Ackerson from his life," Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger told Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens Monday during a hearing to decide whether the couple should be prosecuted together when the case goes to trial May 20.

Stephens continued the hearing for 30 days to give attorneys for the Hayeses time to discuss their defense strategies and to decide whether trying the couple together would be detrimental to their clients.

Zellinger's characterization of the case as being domestic violence is the first time authorities have publicly spoken about a motive for the killing. Family members, however, have said Grant Hayes and Ackerson, 27, had been involved in a contentious child custody battle.

Zellinger told Stephens that there was a "tremendous amount" of evidence against Grant Hayes and that Amanda Hayes confided in her sister in Texas that she helped kill Ackerson and was covering for him.

"She said she had hurt Laura and Laura was dead." Zellinger said, relating a conversation between the two women.

How Ackerson died is unclear. Medical examiners found injuries that suggested a sharp force injury to her neck, but there were also signs that someone tried to strangle her.

Texas authorities who found Ackerson's body and later turned the case over to Raleigh police, say they believe the Hayeses killed Ackerson, cut up her body and carried it in coolers to Texas, where they disposed of her remains in the creek.


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  • peace2u Feb 5, 2013

    Anyone who could do what this couple did is evil. There really is no other explanation.

  • Scubagirl Feb 4, 2013

    When this story first appeared you can bet there were quite afe more than just 27 comments! There is not much left to be said.

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 4, 2013

    The article on guns gets 281 responses and counting, and this one gets just 21? And you want to know why our society is as screwed up as it is? Look no further.

    well they dismembered her, but we cant ban knives. Whats do you want people to say? Its sad to say but this is just another example of domestic violence and a man who let his ego get the better of him. There a lot of women out there who live in fear from their ex's and people want to take guns away from those women and just let the cops protect her. Also, when women like Rhianna go back to the man who beat them, it gets pretty hard to be sympathetic for them.

  • sjb2k1 Feb 4, 2013

    sound a lot like some of you are blaming the victim and i REALLY hope that's not the case.

  • Terkel Feb 4, 2013

    Exactly, RadioDJ, and most of the 281 were fighting about what type of gun it was, or the Big 4 fighting and flooding the board.

  • ripetomatoes Feb 4, 2013

    The saddest part remaining of this story is that the punishment won't fit the crime...

  • JoCo50 at MXR Feb 4, 2013

    There will be no justice in this case.

  • RadioDJ Feb 4, 2013

    The article on guns gets 281 responses and counting, and this one gets just 21? And you want to know why our society is as screwed up as it is? Look no further.

  • Fireflies Rock Feb 4, 2013

    These two are monsters; they should get the death penalty or life in prison. Anyone that can murder and cut up a human body like that is an affront to civilization.

  • angelienna Feb 4, 2013

    Morrigan - Sorry, I'm not buying this "loving people suddenly turn violent." I think women shut their eyes and hope it'll get better just so they can keep their valued "couple" status"

    Nope, no drugs, no alchohol... chemical imbalance that just happened... actually my ex's first signs were that he became more outgoing and more fun... even my friends said so... he was still very loving and filling his role as a dad just as well... then yes, a severe manic high kicked in and my world went from wonderful to h3ll in about 48 hours... so yes, it does happen that quick. You shouldn't be so quick to judge.