Witness tells Raleigh jurors acid used on Laura Ackerson's body after murder

Prosecutors say 27-year-old victim was cut up after she was murdered in Raleigh apartment.
February 4, 2014 4:47:06 PM PST
Jurors in the Amanda Hayes trial heard from a witness Tuesday who said there is evidence acid was used to try to dissolve parts of Laura Ackerson's corpse after her murder.

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 earlier testimony, jurors heard police found evidence of muriatic acid was found near the Texas home.

Tuesday, they saw surveillance video of Grant making a purchase at Texas home depot. Among the items he bought were a garbage can, neoprene gloves, and several gallons of muriatic acid.

A forensic dentist from Texas who used Ackerson's teeth to identify the body told jurors he found something unusual on one of them.

"This would mean that someone had put acid on tooth or the tooth had been placed in acid and it etched or took away some of the enamel," said Dr. Paul Stimson.

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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