crimesider

N.C. mom found guilty of killing husband's ex

Amanda Hayes testifying during her murder trial on Feb. 11, 2014. CBS affiliate WRAL

RALEIGH, N.C. - Amanda Hayes, a North Carolina woman, was found guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday in the death of her husband's ex-girlfriend, whose dismembered remains were found in a Texas creek in 2011, reports CBS affiliate WRAL.

Hayes, 41, along with her husband, Grant Hayes, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder 12 days after Laura Ackerson's July 13, 2011 death.

She was later indicted on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. Her trial began Jan. 21.

Forty-nine witnesses, including the defendant, took the stand over 13 days of testimony, and the jury of three men and nine women returned its verdict Wednesday after more than 11 hours of deliberations, according to the station.

"I'm truly, truly sorry with every ounce of my soul," Hayes told the court prior to learning her sentence of 13 to 16.5 years in prison.

Prosecutors argued during trial that Amanda Hayes hated Ackerson – the mother of Grant Hayes' two young sons – because of a bitter child custody dispute and that the couple wanted to "erase" her from their lives.

Defense attorneys, however, argued that it was Grant Hayes who killed the 27-year-old Ackerson and cut up her body and then hid the crime from his wife.

Amanda Hayes testified that she first heard Ackerson had died while at her sister's home in Richmond, Texas, where Grant Hayes – who the defense argued was a dangerous sociopath – coerced her into admitting to the crime and helping him find a place to dump the remains, reports the station.

She only helped, she said, out of fear of what he might do to her, his boys and her daughters, she testified.

But in closing arguments, prosecutors argued that Amanda Hayes had multiple opportunities to go to police but didn't.

A jury found Grant Hayes guilty of first-degree murder in September 2013. He maintains his wife accidentally killed Ackerson during an argument and that the only thing he did wrong was help with the cover-up because he loved her and wanted to protect her.

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