Raleigh jury sees graphic evidence at Amanda Hayes murder trial

Prosecutors say 27-year-old victim was cut up after she was murdered in Raleigh apartment.
February 3, 2014 4:02:33 PM PST
Jurors at the Amanda Hayes murder trial had to sit through pictures of Laura Ackerson's dismembered corpse Monday. The images were shown by prosecutors on a monitor that could not be seen by most of the rest of the courtroom.

Prosecutors say Amanda and husband Grant killed 27-year-old Ackerson at their Raleigh apartment in July 2011 during a long-running custody dispute over Grant's two oldest children.

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

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.

In court Monday, jurors also saw pictures of the creek and pictures of furniture that the Hayes' brought from Raleigh to Texas in the U-Haul.

Prosecutors used a crime scene investigator from Texas to elaborate on their theory that the Hayes' tried to dissolve the body parts before they were put in the creek.

"We found signs of possible acid and we found the boxes of the muriatic acid. The soil that day looked in that area [like it] was different color like something had been poured on it," said Kim Oreskovich.

Jurors also took a short field trip. They went to look at the boat allegedly used to dump the body parts in the Texas creek.

Prosecutors allege Amanda took part in the murder and disposal of the body, but her defense blames the killing on Grant who it's characterized as a sociopath and master manipulator. Defense attorney Johnny Gaskins told jurors in his opening statement that Amanda actually didn't know Ackerson was dead until they got to Texas. He said Grant dismembered the body somewhere else and got Amanda to go to Texas by encouraging her to visit her sister and deliver a piece of furniture.

Gaskins also told jurors Grant hid the body in the 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.

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