WJTV News Channel 12 - RALEIGH: Amanda Hayes found guilty of 2nd-degree murder

Amanda Hayes found guilty of 2nd-degree murder in death of Laura Ackerson

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Amanda Hayes, 41, was found guilt second-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Ackerson. Amanda Hayes, 41, was found guilt second-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Ackerson.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Amanda Hayes has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of a Kinston mother.

Amanda Hayes, 41, will spend the next 13 to 16 years in prison for the July 2011 murder of Laura Ackerson. Ackerson was the ex-girlfriend of Amanda Hayes' husband, Grant Hayes, who was found guilty of first-degree murder last year for his role in Ackerson's death.

After Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens read the verdict, Amanda Hayes apologized to the jury, her family, Grant Hayes' family and Ackerson's family, saying, "I'm truly, truly sorry."

The verdict comes after nearly three days of deliberations by the jury, who had asked to see a replica of the saw used to dispose of Ackerson's body as well as a transcript of Amanda Hayes' daughter's testimony.

Stephens denied the request by the jury to hear the saw since the saw was never started during the actual trial. Stephens also advised the jury that a transcript of Sha Guddat's testimony could take a day to produce because the court reporter was in another case.

The jury returned with a verdict around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Amanda Hayes pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge in December, however she did not deny involvement in Ackerson's murder. Last week she took the witness stand, telling jurors her husband forced her to get rid of Ackerson's body.

"He told me that I had to help him figure out how to get rid of this body or else none of us were making it back to North Carolina -- to Raleigh," Hayes said.

Prosecutors say Grant and Amanda Hayes lured Ackerson to their apartment in the summer of 2011, strangled her, dismembered her body and dumped the remains in a Texas creek.

Stephens told Amanda Hayes that based on evidence presented, she could have saved Ackerson's life "but chose not to."

Warrants purported that Ackerson and Grant Hayes were in a "contentious child custody case."

Grant Hayes is serving life in prison.

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