NC Appeals Court to hear Raleigh man's bid for new trial
Posted January 20, 2015 7:12 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2015 9:22 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man serving life in prison for the grisly death of his ex-girlfriend nearly four years ago will have his bid for a new trial heard Wednesday before a three-member panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Grant Hayes, 35, claims he didn't get a fair trial in 2013 when a Wake County jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the July 13, 2011, death of Laura Jean Ackerson, whose dismembered remains were discovered days later in a Texas creek.
An appellate attorney for Hayes filed an appeal in August, claiming jurors never should have heard about a psychologist's report that concluded he wanted to "obliterate" Ackerson from his life and that song lyrics talking about an unidentified woman's death were inadmissible.
Prosecutors argued that Hayes lured Ackerson – the mother of two of his children – to his Raleigh apartment, killed her and then tried to cover up the crime by cutting up Ackerson and dumping her body in a creek across the street from the home of his sister-in-law.
Hayes has denied killing Ackerson, saying that he helped cover up her death to protect his then-wife, Amanda Hayes, who he claims killed Ackerson during an argument.
At her trial last year, however, Amanda Hayes told jurors that she only helped cover up the crime because Grant Hayes threatened her.
The case is expected to go before the Court of Appeals at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and will be carried live on WRAL.com. Oral arguments before the court typically last about an hour.