Couple in Ackerson murder case to be tried separately

Kinston mother found dismembered in July 2011

POSTED: 11:53 AM Apr 22 2013   UPDATED: 11:55 AM Apr 22 2013
RALEIGH (WTVD) -

A judge decided Monday to try a couple separately for the alleged killing of a Kinston mother.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said in light of the indication from filed motions that Amanda Hayes is possibly going to blame Grant Hayes for the murder of Laura Ackerson, he's decided the trials should be severed.  

Mr. Hayes' attorney also asked that the trial for his client be delayed. His trial now set for August 26 or sooner. Amanda Hayes remains scheduled to be tried on May 20.

Ackerson's remains were found in Oyster Creek near Skinner Lane in Richmond, Texas July 2011. Identification was made through dental records days later. The 27-year-old was reported missing on July 18.

Texas deputies said they believed Ackerson was killed in North Carolina, and then dismembered, before her body was taken to Texas in coolers. The creek where the remains were found is near Amanda Hayes' sister's home.

During a 2011 court hearing, an assistant district attorney told a judge that Grant Hayes wanted Ackerson out of his life.

Ackerson and Hayes had been involved in a custody battle over their children for more than a year. Hayes was later granted primary custody in 2010.

Grant Hayes was a local musician in Raleigh.

Prosecutors said he legally changed the spelling of his last name from Hayes to Haze, so they now refer to him as "Grant Haze, a.k.a. Grant Hayes."

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