Prosecution rests in Amanda Hayes murder trial

February 10, 2014 

Defendant Amanda Hayes, center, listens to one of her defense lawyers, Rosemary Godwin, left, during opening statements in her first-degree murder trial Monday.

SCOTT SHARPE — ssharpe@newsobserver.com

— After 10 days of testimony and more than 40 witnesses, prosecutors trying Amanda Hayes on murder charges rested their case on Monday.

Hayes, 41, a former actress and art-supply store owner, is accused of working in concert with her husband Grant Hayes to kill Laura Jean Ackerson in July 2011.

Ackerson was 27 and the mother of Grant Hayes' two pre-school-aged sons.

Prosecutors contend that Ackerson and the Hayeses were involved in a bitter custody battle over the boys and that the killing occurred amid one of the arguments.

Prosecutors say the couple then dismembered the body, packed the remains into coolers with 10 bags of ice and transported them to Texas for disposal in a creek.

Grant Hayes was convicted in September of murder and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison.

During his trial, Grant Hayes acknowledged helping with the dismemberment and disposal of the body, but blamed Amanda Hayes for the killing.

Attorneys for Amanda Hayes, who has a pre-school-aged daughter with Grant Hayes, have argued that she, too, was a victim of Grant Hayes.

They have argued that she has an alibi for the killing and that she was coerced and manipulated by a husband she feared to help with the disposal of Ackerson in a creek just yards from her sister's Texas home.

The defense called its first witness Monday after the prosecution rested.

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