Transcript for North Carolina Woman Accused of Killing Mother of Her Stepchildren
North Carolina trial of a woman accused of killing the mother of her stepchildren. Amanda haste denies the charge saying her husband was the sole killer and ABC's Mara schiavocampo has more. Reporter: Taking the tan for the first time this week Amanda Hayes' defense was simple. Her husband made her do it. The 41-year-old wife and mother is charged with first degree murder, accused of helping husband grant Hayes kill 27-year-old laura Ackerson, the mother of his two young children during a bitter custody battle. Prosecutors say she also helped grant dispose of the body and that she's now simply pretending to be a victim pointing out she had years of professional acting training. That involved learning your lines and playing a role and presenting it in a conventional way. Yes, ma'am, that is correct. Reporter: But speaking in her own defense Hayes paints a very different picture, that of a terrified wife who was still recovering from a cesarean section when the crime took place. Soft-spoken on the stand Hayes who has pleaded not guilty says she didn't even know Ackerson was dead until her husband forced her to help cover up the crime almost a week after the murder. She says she wanted to get help but grant Hayes threatened her. I was freaking out. This was not the time for me to start challenging him. Reporter: The defense argues Amanda Hayes also worried if she didn't cooperate, her husband of 14 months might hurt her two young stepsons and their ink fans daughter. Whenever we were driving Lilly was crying. He told me if I didn't shut her up he was going to throw her out of the car. Reporter: He's already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It will be up to the jury to decide if Amanda Hayes was his accomplice or another victim. For "Good morning America," Mara schiavocampo, ABC news, new York. Dan Abrams, our chief legal affairs anchor joins, as always. A couple strike, the husband Vick already and tells her sister she was part of this. Very different case against her than against her sister. Fascinating she's taking the stand in her own defense here. Her defense is that, yes, I was there in the fight leading up to what became the murder. Actually she admits she may have been the cause of the fight. But she says he then throws her out of the house, says get out of the house with the kids. She says we want to talk alone. He and the vic. She says she comes back and he says everything is okay. That's when she says the murder occurred so she didn't know about it, she says. She only learns that there is a body in the truck that she is driving, she says, much later on. So she's claiming she had nothing to do with either the murder and she says she was not a willing accessory after the fact because she says she was threatened. Her testimony becomes crucial and that's why that question about her being an actress in the past is so important, because if the jurors believe her, she could absolutely get acquitted. She did have a very sympathetic demeanor. She did, she did but there are some facts that work against her, number one she allegedly confessed to her sister. Number two there is sideline video of her buying cleaning supplies like bleach, et cetera. Number three, there is a diary of the victim that talks about her and how much she despises how much the relationship between the two of them. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence but this is one of those cases where the reasonable doubt standard becomes so important. Okay. Dan Abrams, thanks very much.
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