Local News

Ackerson's DNA found on latex gloves from Hayes' trash

Posted September 10, 2013 11:41 a.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2013 6:10 p.m. EDT

— A DNA analyst for the North Carolina State Crime Lab testified Tuesday that Laura Ackerson's DNA was found on a blue latex glove found in the trash from the Raleigh apartment complex of her ex-boyfriend, who is on trial for her July 2011 death.

Grant Hayes, 34, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if he's found guilty of first-degree murder in the case.

Prosecutors contend Hayes, embroiled in a bitter child custody dispute with Ackerson, killed her, dismembered her body and dumped her remains in a creek in Richmond, Texas.

He and his wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, were both arrested 12 days after the crime.

Defense attorneys, however, say it was Amanda Hayes who killed Ackerson during an argument and that their client helped get rid of the body because he didn't think anyone would believe the death was unplanned.

Detectives combed through the trash from the couple's apartment complex in the early days of their investigation and recovered numerous items, including disposable respirators, towels, bathroom floor mats, clothing and the couple's vacuum cleaner.

But Sharon Hinton, a forensic DNA analyst with the State Crime Lab, said she was only able to conclusively identify Ackerson's DNA on the blue latex gloves. A second set of DNA was also on the gloves, but Hinton said testing to see if it matched either Grant or Amanda Hayes was inconclusive.

Testing was also inconclusive on other items, some of which all had blood on them, Hinton said, likely because of there wasn't enough DNA to test or the quality of the DNA wasn't good enough.

The tests of several hair samples for DNA were also inconclusive, but Crime Lab hair analyst Jennifer Remy said hairs from a bath tub drain from the Hayeses' apartment seemed unusual and that they were possibly eroded.

Prosecutors could rest their case this week.

Judge Donald Stephens on Monday reduced lunch from 90 minutes to an hour and reconvened court at 9 a.m., instead of 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday in an effort to help keep the trial schedule on track.