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Opening statements begin in Amanda Hayes trial

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Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Jean Ackerson. Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Jean Ackerson.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Opening statements began Monday in the trial of a Raleigh woman accused of killing her husband's ex-girlfriend.

Amanda Perry Hayes, 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of Laura Jean Ackerson. Ackerson was the ex-girlfriend of Hayes' husband, Grant Hayes, who was found guilty last year for his role in Ackerson's death.

Prosecutors say Grant and Amanda Hayes lured Ackerson to their apartment in 2011, killed her, dismembered her and dumped her remains in a Texas creek, where Amanda Hayes had family.

The motive, investigators say, was a custody dispute over the two children Hayes had with Ackerson.

During Grant Hayes' trial, prosecutors showed the jury video of Hayes buying a high-powered saw at a Wal-Mart. It is believed he used the saw to dispose of Ackerson.

The jury also listened to a song Grant Hayes recorded that prosecutors said was about killing Ackerson.

The defense argued that Amanda Hayes killed Ackerson and Grant Hayes simply helped cover it up, but the jury didn't buy the story and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Monday, prosecutors began their opening statement by saying, "'I hurt her bad'...those were the words of Amanda Hayes."

Hayes' attorney Johnny Gaskins, argued her participation was against her will, going so far as to call her a "victim" in the case.

Calling Grant Hayes a controlling sociopath, the defense claimed Amanda Hayes had no idea Ackerson was killed until she was asked to help dispose of the body. And her husband threatened her with a machete unless she complied.

The defense claimed Grant Hayes said, "If you don't do it than none of us are getting out of here alive."

Gaskins continued, "He pulls out a machete--whacks her across the leg--{and says} this is what you can expect if you don't think I mean business."

Amanda Hayes pleaded not guilty last month to Ackerson's murder.

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Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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