Prosecution works to show conflict with Ackerson in Amanda Hayes trial

Woman charged in murder and dismemberment of her husband's ex-girlfriend in 2011 says she didn't do it.
January 28, 2014 9:34:02 AM PST
Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens began Tuesday by telling jurors he was well aware of snow in the weather forecast, but he didn't want to lose an entire day in a trial that could take a month.

Stephens said he would wait for the storm to get closer before ending for the day.

Prosecutors spent the morning trying to show that Amanda Hayes had a testy relationship with the mother of her husband's two oldest children.

Prosecutors say Amanda and her husband Grant - aka Grant Haze - killed 27-year-old Laura Ackerson at their Raleigh apartment in July 2011 during a long-running custody dispute over the kids.

Ackerson's body was cut up with a power saw, put in coolers, and then driven in a rented U-Haul to Amanda Hayes' sister's house in Richmond, Texas, where the body parts were dumped in a nearby creek.

Before the murder, Grant and Amanda had custody of the two boys and Ackerson had visitation rights.

Tuesday morning, an SBI agent who searched Ackerson's apartment read from Ackerson's diary about friction with Amanda.

"She scolded me in front of my children.  I found it off-putting.  I told her I was concerned about her frequent negative emotional outbursts towards me in front of Grant IV and Gentel," read SBI Agent Lolita Chapman.

But on cross-examination by Amanda's attorney Johnny Gaskins, Chapman was also asked to read some of the notes in which Ackerson praised some of Amanda's interaction with the boys.

Grant Hayes was convicted of murder last year. He's currently serving a life sentence at the Pasquotank Correctional Center.

In a phone interview with ABC11 from prison earlier this month, Grant said he is not guilty. He claimed Amanda killed Ackerson in an act of self defense when the women argued about a cash deal for custody of the two children.

In his opening statement, Gaskins told jurors that Grant killed Ackerson - who he characterized as a sociopath and master manipulator - and Amanda actually didn't know Ackerson was dead until they got to Texas. He said Grant got Amanda to go by encouraging her to visit her sister and deliver a piece of furniture.

Gaskins said Grant hid the body in a U-Haul and threatened Amanda with a machete to get her to take part in disposing of the corpse after they arrived at the sister's house.

The trial could last up to four weeks.

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