FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A woman serving time for murdering her husband’s ex-girlfriend was convicted in a separate case last week of tampering with evidence, using acid and alligators in an attempt to get rid of the victim’s body, reported Fox News.
Amanda Hayes, 46, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week for tampering with evidence, which in this case, was the corpse of her husband’s ex-girlfriend, 27-year-old Laura Ackerson, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday.
In 2011, Hayes and her husband, Grant, killed Ackerson in their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Afterward they dismembered her body and transported body parts in coolers to Hayes’ sister’s home in Richmond, Texas, according to the district attorney’s office.
“Once in Richmond, the couple first attempted to use muriatic acid to destroy Ackerson’s body. When that didn’t work, they took a boat onto Oyster Creek and dumped Laura’s body parts into the water with hopes that alligators would eat her remains,” the statement reads.
Hayes and her husband were convicted in 2014 of killing and dismembering Ackerson. Hayes is already serving a 13- to 16-year sentence in North Carolina after being convicted of second degree murder, while Grant is serving life in prison.
Ackerson was in a custody battle with the Hayes around the time of her murder, WRAL News reported in 2011.
In her defense, Hayes offered coercion. The woman testified that “she didn’t kill Ackerson and only helped get rid of her body in Texas because her husband threatened her if she didn’t help.”
Judge Maggie Jaramillo later sentenced her “to the maximum possible punishment of 20 years in prison.”
Hayes is slated to serve the sentence following her prison time in North Carolina, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office said.
“The jury verdict was swift and the court’s sentence was appropriately harsh,” lead prosecutor Amanda Bolin said in an online statement. “Laura Ackerson’s family can be assured that Amanda Hayes will be punished for all of her barbaric behavior – whether it was in North Carolina or the great state of Texas.”
Complete Details from Fort Bend County Press Release:
A Fort Bend County jury convicted Amanda Perry Hayes of Tampering with Evidence (Human Corpse) on August 21, 2018, before 400th District Court Judge Maggie Jaramillo sentenced her to 20 years in prison. The 46 year-old North Carolina woman was previously convicted of second-degree murder in North Carolina for the death of her husband’s ex-girlfriend.
According to Assistant District Attorney Amanda Bolin, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s investigators were called to the 4300 Block of Skinner Lane in Richmond on July 24, 2011. They were alerted that there may be a human body in Oyster Creek at that location. Within a short period of time, investigators located two pieces of a human torso and part of a human lower leg. The following day, with the assistance of the Houston Police Department Dive Team, a human skull and thigh were located. A few weeks later, a worker with the Gulf Coast Water Authority recovered another human thighbone. As investigators had feared, the remains were later identified to be that of a missing 27-year-old mother of two from North Carolina. Laura Ackerson was reported missing in Kinston, North Carolina on July 18, 2011 after disappearing a week earlier. She was last known to be traveling to the home of Grant and Amanda Hayes to pick up her children she shared with Grant Hayes.
Grant and Amanda Hayes were later charged and convicted for the murder of Laura Ackerson. Evidence indicated the couple killed Ackerson in their Raleigh, North Carolina apartment, cut up her body, and then transported it in coolers to the home of Amanda Hayes sister in Richmond, Texas. Once in Richmond, the couple first attempted to use muriatic acid to destroy Ackerson’s body. When that didn’t work, they took a boat onto Oyster Creek and dumped Laura’s body parts into the water with hopes that alligators would eat her remains.
Amanda Hayes testified at trial that she didn’t kill Ackerson and only helped get rid of her body in Texas because her husband threatened her if she didn’t help. The jury rejected that defense and found her guilty in just an hour and a half.
During the punishment phase of trial, Judge Jaramillo heard from Laura Ackerson’s father as well as a jail supervisor. The defense called Amanda Hayes to the stand, who continued to deny her involvement in the death of Ackerson. Without hesitation, Judge Jaramillo sentenced Amanda Hayes to the maximum possible punishment of 20 years in prison and then ordered that she serve her sentence consecutive to the 13-16 year sentence she already received in North Carolina. Grant Hayes is already serving a life sentence in North Carolina for the murder of Ackerman.
“The jury verdict was swift and the Court’s sentence was appropriately harsh,” said lead prosecutor Amanda Bolin. “Laura Ackerson’s family can be assured that Amanda Hayes will be punished for all of her barbaric behavior – whether it was in North Carolina or the great state of Texas.”
Tampering with Evidence to Impair its Availability in an Investigation is a second-degree felony in this case, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Assistant District Attorneys Amanda Bolin and Brandon Draper prosecuted the case.