Opening statements started today in the trial of Grant Hayes, who is accused of the murder and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend Laura Ackerson, in 2011. You can read the background of this case HERE.
The Prosecutor’s opening statement was overall pretty effective, but in my opinion, it lacked a little bit of emotion. I always like when the prosecutors tell the story in such a way that by the end of it, you can really get a sense of who the victim was, and you really feel for them. I felt like this could have been done a little better, but aside from that, I thought the evidence sounded pretty solid.
The prosecutor, Boz Zellinger, pointed out that Grant and Laura had been involved in a bitter child custody dispute and that Grant and Amanda wanted to get rid of Laura from their lives.
The attorney who gave the opening statement for the defense, William Durham, said what I pretty much suspected he was going to say: that Amanda Hayes, Grant’s wife, was the real killer, and that Grant had only been trying to protect her in helping to cover it up.
After the opening arguments were finished, the Prosecution called their first witness, Shavon Mathis, to the stand. I thought Shavon was a great witness. She testified that she and Laura were close friends and that Laura had been very afraid of Grant, at one point telling her that if anything ever happened to her, that Grant would be responsible.
The State then called Heidi Schumaker to the stand. Heidi and Laura had been best friends since they were 19 years old. Laura had confided in Heidi about her rocky relationship and custody dispute with Grant. Heidi had advised Laura to record every interaction that she had with Grant, so that Laura could get her kids back, which was something she wanted very badly, according to both Shavon and Heidi. Heidi said that Laura was excited for the upcoming custody hearing because she was sure she was going to get full custody of her kids. Heidi gave the saved recordings to police after Laura disappeared. Laura had also told Heidi that if anything ever happened to her, that Grant would be responsible.
You can also check out the liveblog below of the testimony from today.