RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY -

Guilty-- That's the verdict reached by the jury in the trial of Amanda Hayes, the woman charged with murder in the death and dismemberment of Kinston mother Laura Ackerson.

The Raleigh jury found Hayes guilty of second-degree murder just before 4 p.m. Wednesday. They began deliberating Monday afternoon.

Hayes was then sentenced to between 13 years and 1 month to 16 years and 6 months in prison.

Hayes offered an apology to everyone involved.

"I apologize to [Ackerson], to her family, to her children, to my family, to Grant's family, to everyone who had to work this case, to everyone who had to sit through this trial, to everyone in the media who has had to watch this and had this case touch their lives. I'm so so sorry that this touched my life in any shape, form or fashion, or anyone that loved or cared about, or anyone. I'm truly, truly sorry with every ounce of my soul," Hayes said to the courtroom.

Prosecutors said Amanda Hayes and her husband, Grant, killed 27-year-old Laura Ackerson (pictured right), of Kinston, at the couple's Raleigh apartment in July 2011. Ackerson was involved in a custody battle with Grant over their two sons when she was killed, investigators said.

Investigators said Amanda and Grant Hayes dismembered Ackerson with a power saw, packed her body parts in coolers, and dumped the remains in a creek in Richmond, Texas, near the home of Amanda's sister.

"It is quite possible that Amanda Hayes could have saved the life of Laura Ackerson and chose not to," said Judge Donald Stephens during sentencing.

Grant Hayes was already convicted of first-degree murder in September for Ackerson's death, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Grant and Ackerson's two children, along with the daughter Grant and Amanda had together, are in the custody of Grant's parents.

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The trial of Amanda Hayes, the woman accused of working with her husband to murder and dismember Kinston mother Laura Ackerson, is now in the hands of the jury.

Jury deliberations began Monday afternoon and will continue Tuesday in the Raleigh trial of Hayes, who is charged with first-degree murder and accessory after murder.

Prosecutors said Amanda Hayes and her husband, Grant, killed 27-year-old Laura Ackerson (pictured right), of Kinston, at the couple's Raleigh apartment in July 2011. Ackerson was involved in a custody battle with Grant Hayes over their two sons when she was killed, investigators said.

But ABC-affiliate WTVD reports that during closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Johnny Gaskins told jurors that there is no evidence to support Amanda's involvement in Ackerson's murder.

Instead, Gaskins blamed the murder on Amanda's husband, Grant, calling him a "classic sociopath."

Investigators said Amanda and Grant Hayes dismembered Ackerson with a power saw, packed her body parts in coolers, and dumped the remains in a creek in Richmond, Texas, near the home of Amanda's sister.

During Amanda Hayes' trial, surveillance video of Grant Hayes shopping at a Walmart for a saw and blades was shown, WTVD reports. Gaskins said in his closing that Grant's casual demeanor in the store is evidence that he had killed before.

"I submit to you that he was a man who knew exactly what he wanted and he knew what he wanted because he had done it before," Gaskins said in court.

According to WTVD, Gaskins said Amanda Hayes didn't even know of Ackerson's murder until after she arrived at her sister's home in Texas. Amanda testified that Grant talked her into making the trip and suggested they deliver a piece of furniture. Amanda said Ackerson's remains were hidden behind the furniture in the U-Haul they had rented.

Amanda said Grant later threatened her with a machete and forced her to help him dump Ackerson's body parts.

But Wake County prosecutor Boz Zellinger said the defense made "ridiculous" assertions. Zellinger mentioned surveillance photos of Amanda dumping acid containers used to try to dissolve Ackerson's remains.

Zellinger also showed photos that Grant and Amanda took of themselves as they were returning home from Texas. In the pictures, the couple were smiling, evidence that Amanda was not afraid of Grant, Zellinger said.

Prosecutor Becky Holt said in her closing argument that Grant and Amanda had become desperate in their custody battle with Ackerson over her and Grant's two sons. According to Holt, the Hayes had originally been living in New York, but got married and moved to North Carolina to win custody.

Grant Hayes was already convicted of first-degree murder in September for Ackerson's death, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.