Grant Hayes found guilty of Raleigh murder of Laura Ackerson


The group deliberated for just an hour and a half.

"I think a jury verdict in an hour and a half speaks volumes," offered Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens.

Stephens immediately sentenced Hayes to life in prison.

Hayes - aka Grant Haze - was charged - along with his current wife Amanda - with murdering the 27-year-old at their Raleigh apartment in July, 2011 during a long-running custody dispute. Prosecutors say they chopped up Ackerson's body, put it in coolers, and then drove them 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 their closing arguments Friday, Hayes' lawyers had tried to convince jurors that he should not be convicted of murder at all. They've blamed the murder on his wife and say he only participated in trying to hide the killing.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors said a charge of first-degree murder was appropriate. Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt charged Hayes plotted Ackerson's death because he was furious his fight for custody was not going well.

Hayes and his wife are being tried separately. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Amanda Hayes is expected to go on trial next year.

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