Woman recounts helping Grant Hayes pick out saw blades in Raleigh murder trial


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

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.

During the testimony of Susan Dufur, jurors were shown surveillance video of Grant in the do-it-yourself section of a local Walmart around 2 a.m. July 14, 2011.

Hayes purchased a Skil reciprocating saw, extra blades, a tarp, heavy-duty plastic rolls, trash bags, gloves, and eye protection.

Dufur said Hayes asked her about blades for a smaller jig saw, but they apparently weren't big enough. When asked if the time Hayes was shopping was unusual, Dufur says it was not.

"There are lots of third shift workers in this world, and that's when they shop," she said.

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

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 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.

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