RICHMOND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Bend County, Texas judge sentenced a woman to 20 years in prison for helping cover up the murder of her husband’s ex-girlfriend.
A jury convicted Amanda Hayes, 46, of tampering with evidence, in this case, a human corpse.
She was previously convicted of second-degree murder in North Carolina for the woman’s death.
According to Fort Bend County DA’s Office, Sheriff’s investigators were alerted to a possible human body found in a creek in July of 2011. That’s where they found 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.
The Hayes’ were later charged and convicted for the murder of 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 Ackerson’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.
“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.”
The judge 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.