Hayes' jury sees coolers that allegedly held body parts
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Testimony in the trial of a Raleigh man accused of killing the mother of his two eldest children and cutting up her body continued Thursday as prosecutors showed jurors how they believe her body parts got from Raleigh to Texas.
Grant Hayes - aka Grant Haze - is charged - along with his current wife Amanda - with killing Laura Ackerson at their Raleigh apartment in July 2011 during a long-running custody dispute.
Prosecutors say Grant and Amanda chopped up Ackerson's body, put it in coolers, and then drove them to Amanda Hayes' sister's house in Richmond, Texas, where the body parts were dumped in a nearby creek.
The coolers were among the first items jurors saw Thursday morning.
Authorities said Grant and Amanda allegedly used a U-Haul trailer to store the coolers during the long drive from Raleigh with their infant daughter and Ackerson's two sons.
A crime scene investigator from Texas also told jurors Thursday about other evidence she found.
"We found the hair stuck to the inside of the trailer," said Kim Oreskovich with the Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff's Office.
Apparently the hair belonged to Ackerson.
On the witness stand Wednesday, Raleigh Police Department detective Robert Latour Jr told jurors that Hayes purchased muriatic acid at a Home Depot after arriving in Texas and that the discarded containers were found on a street near where Ackerman's remains were recovered by divers with the Houston, Texas police department.
Latour also described the divers finding Ackerman's torso and later her head. He said the head was different in appearance - the inference being that it was placed in the acid before it was put in the water.
Hayes' defense maintains he didn't kill Ackerson, just helped dispose of her body. It says Amanda Hayes killed her in a fight and that Grant is only guilty of trying to cover up the death.
Hayes and his wife are being tried separately. A jury of eight women and four men is hearing the case. Attorneys have also chosen four alternates. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Hayes faces life in prison if convicted. Amanda Hayes is expected to go on trial next year.
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