Jury foreman, victim's brother weigh in on Amanda Hayes verdict

ABC11 gets exclusive insight and reaction to the Amanda Hayes verdict.
February 20, 2014 8:26:50 PM PST
One day after a jury found Amanda Hayes guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Laura Ackerson, ABC11 got exclusive insight and reaction to the verdict.

Ackerson's brother is speaking out about his family's loss and what he thinks about the verdict. He's disappointed with the second degree murder conviction, and the man who led the group that reached that decision understands.

In a murder punctuated by dismemberment, it's hard for Ackerson's family to get past the anger and grief.  

"Second degree just doesn't have harsh enough punishment for me," said Jason Ackerson. "Laura loved the boys.  She loved life. She was altogether a good hearted person."

"I thought she was guilty of first degree murder," said jury foreman Tim Mock.

So on one hand, Mock agrees with Ackerson's brother, but he says the reality of jury deliberations is sometimes there has to be compromise. Nine jurors wanted murder. Two wanted acquittal. A third was undecided.

However, he says eventually they all decided they didn't want to be hung jury, and were worrying about a do-over.

"They're going to go through this all again and we don't know what this next jury will find.  They may find her innocent," said Mock.

Mock says those who initially believed Hayes might be innocent eventually decided they didn't buy her story that she didn't know Ackerson was killed and cut up until days later.

Even though Laura Ackerson was dead, she left plenty of evidence including a diary and notebook jurors asked to take into the jury room. With tears in his eyes, Mock says the panel never lost sight of the victim.

"I just got a little 'verklempt' sitting here thinking about that. Laura was in the deliberation room with us," said Mock.

So they compromised on second degree murder. Mock understands that that explanation isn't enough for Ackerson's big brother - a man who once was her protector.

"Wish I could have protected her this time," said Jason Ackerson.

Jason Ackerson says he's relying on his faith to one day forgive Grant and Amanda Hayes.

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