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Hayes asked relative about alligators

Grant Hayes
September 4, 2013 2:46:50 PM PDT
Testimony in the trial of a Raleigh man accused of killing the mother of his two eldest children and cutting up her body dipped into the gruesome Wednesday, as witnesses spoke about the creek in Texas where the woman's remains were found.

Hayes - aka Grant Haze - is charged - along with his current wife Amanda - with killing Laura Ackerson in July 2011 during a long-running custody dispute. Prosecutors say Grant and Amanda chopped up Ackerson's body, put it in coolers, and then drove them in a U-Haul to Amanda Hayes' sister's house in Richmond, Texas, where the body parts were dumped in a nearby creek.

On the witness stand Wednesday, Raleigh Police Department detective Robert Latour Jr told jurors that Hayes purchased muriatic acid at a Home Depot after arriving in Texas and that the discarded containers were found on a street near where Ackerman's remains were recovered by divers with the Houston, Texas police department.

Latour also described the divers finding Ackerman's torso and later her head. He said the head was different in appearance - the inference being that it was placed in the acid before it was put in the water.

Later in the day, Amanda's nephew Shelton Berry spoke about the boat that Grant and Amanda allegedly used to go out on the creek to dump the body parts.

Berry said Hayes had asked him if there were alligators in the water and if they ate people.

Next on the stand was Berry's brother Dalton who said he overheard a phone conversation Hayes was having with someone while packing to go home.

"He said 'I don't need an alibi. I was with my family,'" Dalton Berry testified.

Hayes' defense maintains he didn't kill Ackerson. It says Amanda Hayes killed her in a fight and that Grant is only guilty of trying to cover up the death.

Hayes and his wife are being tried separately. A jury of eight women and four men is hearing the case. Attorneys have also chosen four alternates. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Hayes faces life in prison if convicted. Amanda Hayes is expected to go on trial next year.

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