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HEATHER STRUBE - JOANNA HAYES "MURDERING MOTHER IN LAW" - PRE - TRIAL - TRIAL - CONVICTION & SENTENCING

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Jan 22 11 8:52 PM

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   Gwinnett Superior Court - Gwinnett County, Georgia
 
 
                                 MOTIONS HEARING RESCHEDULED
 
2011 - January 17 -  A Court Hearing due to be held on this date has been rescheduled
                               for March, 2011.
 
Dan Mayfield (Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney)
(Mayfield will be prosecuting the case against Joanna Hayes)
 
"The purpose of the March hearings is unclear. The defense has not yet filed the
motions, so I don't know what to expect."

Bruce Morriss (Defense Attorney) will be representing Joanna Hayes at trial.
 
 
                                MURDER TRIAL DATE SET
 
2011 - May 2 - Joanna Hayes will stand trial for the murder of Heather Allen Strube,
                      daughter in law who was divorcing Haye's son, Steve Strube.
 
                     Hayes was arrested Oct. 22, 2009 and charged with "Malice Murder,
                     Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault and possession of a firearm
                     during the commission of a Felony."


                   


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#1 [url]

May 5 11 10:37 PM

MY FOX ATLANTA

"The day before jury selection began heather's mom talked with FOX 5 News
 about the upcoming trial and her loss.

"I'll never have closure. My life will always be Swiss cheese. Always be holes
in anything we got to do, they'll be missing parts," said Heather Strube's
mother Mary Allen. She says the trial will be hard on her family but is looking
forward to a resolution to the case. "I want justice for my daughter. I want the
person that did this to never get out of jail," said Allen."


2011 -MAY 5 - JURY SELECTION IS UNDERWAY

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#2 [url]

May 9 11 5:24 PM

OPENING STATEMENTS

PROSECUTION:
Assistant District Attorney Christa Kirk
"Heather Strube was in a bitter custody dispute with her husband Steven in
April 2009. They were were battling in court over custody of their 18-month-old
son Carson.  Joanna Hayes did not want Ms Strube to get custody of Carson,
and she accused Heather Strube of "not being a good mother."

The couple agreed to meet in the parking lot of a Target store in Snellville, Georgia,
on April 26, 2009 so Steven could hand over Carson to Heather. After the handover,
Steven drove away and Heather strapped her son into a car seat.

Joanna Hayes disguised herself as a man with a fake wig and moustache, then
approached Heather Strube in the crowded parking lot, in broad daylight.
That's when the Joanna Hayes arrived at Heather Strube's car, put a gun to her
head  and pulled the trigger, while Strube’s 18-month-old son, Carson, sat a few
feet away, strapped into a car seat.

Witnesses described a truck similar to the one Hayes drives -  a white Ford F-150
pickup truck - parked near the store around the time Heather Strube died. Fiber
consistent with a wig was found inside Joanna Hayes’ truck.

The murder weapon in the case has not been found.

"This person pulls out a gun, places it on Heather's forehead, and shoots her," 
 "The defendant, she didn't like Heather. She didn't want Heather to have custody
of Carson in the divorce."

DEFENSE:
Defense Attorney Bruce Morris

"The motive that Joanna killed her daughter-in-law because of some custody is
going to unravel during the trial. It was not her in the parking lot that day."

"The state's case is based on 'circumstantial evidence, and the Snellville Police
 jumped the gun by zeroing in Joanna Hayes early in their investigation."

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#3 [url]

May 9 11 5:55 PM

WITNESS: A friend of Heather Strube

Testimony: Heather Strube was scared of her mother-in-law Joanna Hayes.
She didn't feel physically safe around her.
 
 
WITNESS: SNELLVILLE POLICE

'Surveillance video shows what look slike a man wearing khaki pants with
a shirt tuckedinto the pants, and wearing a wig and fake mustache."


WITNESS: Kiersten Rom (in the parking lot during the murder)
 
I was a passenger in my parent's car. We entered the parking lot of a Target
Store in Snellville. I immediate noticed a person standing near the store because
that person wore an unusual looking jet black wig and mustache.
 
I watched as the person walked up to a woman from behind.

"The woman recognized this person...surprised to run into them in the parking lot.
They weren't expecting someone to be there, but kind of look at them with a little
bit of shock.

I noticed the person reach into a bag and pull out a big black case.
"Then I saw the person extend the case at arms length away from themselves
and I heard a popping noise. Then the woman that was standing by the car
clutched her stomach and collapsed to the ground.
 
"I was unsure if the shooter was a man or a woman."


WITNESS: 
 
Testimony: "Someone wearing an "afropuff" wig ran around the Target to the
parking lot of a hotel following the crime and drove away in a white pickup truck."

WITNESS: Paul Pinzino (Former co-worker of Joanna Hayes)

Pinzino's testimony: Joanna Hayes  worked in construction and would make
extra cash delivering flowers for her daughter-in-law's (Heather Strube) floral
company.

On Valentine's Day of 2008, Joanna Hayes described to him how she would
commit "the perfect murder."

"She said she would act alone, but have a relative use her credit card to
set up an alibi. She would use a vehicle that wouldn't stand out."

Hayes said she would use an unregistered revolver, because "they don't jam."
 She'd buy the gun from a day laborer. She'd bought three guns before at
construction sites.

 To hide evidence of the crime, she told me she would  file it down or melt it
after using it before tossing it in a lake. She had a shop behind her house
and she said she could actually use the tools in that shop to destroy the
weapon."
 
 "It was a little strange, yes. But we were just talking. I didn't think anything about it."

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#4 [url]

May 9 11 6:24 PM

EVIDENCE: DVD recording  - Steven Strube - Snellville Police station
 
Assistant District Attorney Christa Kirk presented to the jury a dvd recording of
Steven Strube phoning his mother Joanna Hayes from the Snellville Police
Station interrogation room.

Joanna Hayes answers the telephone.
 
Steven Strube
"Hey, I just left the police station. They showed me the
videotape. That looks like you."
 
Joanna Hayes
  "It looks like me?"
 
Steven Strube
"Mom, why did you do it?
 
Joanna Hayes
"I didn't."
 
Steven Strube
"Mom, it looks like you. It looks just like you. Walks like you.
(Pause, sobbing) Why'd you do it?
 
Joanna Hayes
"I didn't, Steven."
 
"I didn't have anything to gain by killing Heather."
 

DEFENSE CROSS EXAMINATION:
Defense Attorney Kenneth Traub questioned Steven Strube
regarding his reaction to the surveillance video.
 
Steven Strube testified:
 
I'm an emotional person; I was repeatedly questioned; I was
told my mother's alibi didn't add up, I was confused; I was
about to have a nervous breakdown.
  

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#5 [url]

May 10 11 9:56 PM

  WITNESS: Steven Strube Sr. (Ex-husband of Joanna Hayes)

Strube Sr's testimony:

Joanna Hayes is known to carry a gun, usually in her purse.
In 1991, they were at a cabin in Meriwether County having an
argument when Joanna Hayes pulled out a gun. She held the
gun at his head for several seconds before pulling away.

"She pulled the handgun out of the case, and she put it to my head."
“That pretty much ended the argument,”
 
PROSECUTION:
"Where did she point the gun?"
 
Steven Strube Sr. pointed to the middle of his forehead.
 
A few days later Strube Sr. separated from Joanna Hayes,
the couple got a divorce.

DEFENSE:
"Did you leave Joanna Hayes for her sister?"

Steven Strube Sr. testified that he and Joanna Haye's sister are
married, but "the relationships did not overlap."

 

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#6 [url]

May 12 11 7:49 PM

WITNESS: Georgia Bureau of Investigations Analyst

Testimony:
"Traces of gunshot residue were found in the truck.
One single particle on the steering wheel and two on the dashboard.

DEFENSE CROSS EXAMINATION:
Defense Attorney Morriss

Georgia Bureau of Investigations Analyst
"Those particles could also have come from non-weapons, such as car
batteries and nail guns."
 
 
WITNESS: Cpl. Dean Boone (Snellville Police)

Boone's testimony:
 
Cpl. Boone interviewed Joanna Hayes 3 days after the shooting,
on April 29th.

 Joanna Hayes disliked Heather Strube and her parenting skills.
Hayes claimed Heather "often handed her infant son over to her
estranged husband with dirty diapers and dirt under his fingernails."
 

 
“(Hayes) didn’t think Heather was a good parent morally and wasn’t
good enough to raise her grandchild."

Hayes knew that her son Steven and Heather usually used a Target
store parking lot (in Snellville) as a meeting point to exchange custody
of their child.

The day of the murder:
Hayes said she’d gone to Home Depot with her son Steven.
She left Lilburn about 5 p.m., going to her home in Luthersville.
Hayes pulled off Interstate 85 at Exit 41, to buy a Frosty at
Wendy’s and go in a post office,  As proof, Hayes referred
to a Wendy’s receipt in her truck.

"Snellville police impounded the vehicle and turned it over for a
forensic examination without even cracking the doors."


Snellville police received a “concerned citizen” call. Darryl Myers said he’d
been at Crestwood Suites behind Target the weekend of Heather Strube's
murder. He noticed "someone wearing “a Sonny-and-Cher-type wig and
mustache” and taking pictures of the Target area the day of Strube’s death,
and the day prior."

Investigators Darryl Myers, to Joanna Hayes’ home in Lilburn. Myers
positively identified Hayes' white, 1991 Ford F-150 truck as the one he’d
seen near Target.

"He even went so far as to say he recognized the side moldings on the truck."

DEFENSE CROSS EXAMINATION:
Defense attorney Bruce Morriss

Cpl Boone agreed that at least a dozen people knew about Heather and
Steven using the Target store parking lot as a meeting point.

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#7 [url]

May 12 11 7:52 PM

CBS ATLANTA

Joanna Hayes will not take the stand in her murder trial.
 
 Thursday afternoon Hayes told the judge she didn’t want to testify.

Hayes’ defense team called half-a-dozen witnesses to the stand Thursday,
but one witness changed her testimony, leading to the defense calling for
impeachment.  Julie Rom witnessed the murder. In previous statements,
Rom identified the murder weapon as a black gun. That’s significant
because Hayes owned a silver gun, not a black gun.


Rom changed her story in front of the jury when the prosecution asked…


“So really, you have no idea what color the gun was?”


“I would say, yes,” agreed Rom.

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#8 [url]

May 12 11 7:55 PM

CBS ATLANTA
 
"Late Wednesday afternoon the prosecution rested after calling two key
witnesses to the stand. Both were former cellmates of Hayes at the
Gwinnett County jail in November of 2009. “She (Hayes) said she killed
her (Strube),” testified Kelly Shierling. “She said she shot Ms. Strube
in the head.” Joy Johnson Kermeli also shared a cell with Hayes and
Shierling. She said she didn’t hear the confession but observed odd
behavior from Hayes. “There were no tears, which I thought was
strange,” said Kermeli."

MORE AT LINK

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#9 [url]

May 13 11 8:36 PM

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Prosecutors left jurors with one indelible image in the murder trial of
Joanna Hayes on Friday: a photo of the 26-year-old victim, Heather
Strube, smiling lovingly at her toddler son

Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Dan Mayfield asked the jury
to find Hayes guilty in Strube's slaying and to bring justice for Strube's son,
Carson.

Defense attorney Bruce Morriss told jurors the eyewitness testimony in the
case tends to prove the shooter was a man. He said Hayes knew she wasn't
guilty and never sought a lawyer's advice when talking to police, who erred in
targeting her early on. "I want to yell out to you she did not, Joanna Hayes
did not do this thing," Morriss said."

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#12 [url]

May 17 11 8:33 PM

2011 - May 16 -  Jury instructions  9 a.m. 
 
Jurors begin deliberations.
 
Afternoon - Jurors request to see pieces of evidence.

 
2011 - May 17 - Jurors view evidence.
 
Jurors viewed a portion of the in video Steven Strube Jr.'s statement to police;
listened to a portion of the recorded phone call between Steven Strube Jr.
and his mother Joanna Hayes - the portion where Steven Strube Jr. tells
his mother he believes it was her after seeing the surveillance video.

2011 - May 18 - Jury will continue to deliberate.

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#13 [url]

May 18 11 4:42 PM

2011 - May 18 - Jury renders a decision.

GUILTY - all counts: 
Malice Murder
Felony Murder
Aggravated Assault
Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
 
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT:
 
Mary Allen (Heather's mother)
 (Buddy & Mary Allen have custody of Carson, Heather's son, aged 3).

"I fear Hayes might track my family down and “take the same measures”
if freed from prison. That my grandchild will grow up motherless is the
greatest travesty of all. Our lives will never be the same. Every vacation,
every holiday, every time I go to pick up the phone, she’s not there.”
 
 
Defendant Statement:
Joanna Hayes (tearfully)
I’m innocent of this. I’ve never harmed anyone for anything in my entire life.
I love Heather just as much as anyone else.”
 
SENTENCING:
 
 Judge Warren Davis (Gwinnett Superior Court) sentences Joanna
Hayes to LIFE IN PRISON.

ADDITIONAL STIPULATIONS:
If paroled, Joanna Hayes cannot contact Heather (Allen) Strube's
family, Heather's son Carson, nor any of the witnesses (30 or more) who testified
for the state for 5 years. (She's allowed to contact her son Steven Strube Jr.,
and ex-husband Steven Strube Sr.)

Upon release from prison on parole - Joanna Hayes will serve 5 years intensive probation.

Under the state's current parole guidelines:
Joanna Hayes will not be eligible for parole for 30 years - she'll be 77.


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#14 [url]

Jun 2 11 6:50 PM

2011 - June 1 -  Jail interview with Joanna Hayes, convicted killer.
 
                          Exclusive 45 minute interview with Channel 2 Action News'
                          Mark Winne
 
ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION (AJC)

Joanna Hayes
"I did not murder Heather Strube. I think if a person is capable of something like
that, it would have to show it in their pastI have never in my life brought harm to
anything. People in my life know this.There’s no evidence that puts me at the
scene. All the evidence actually shows it wasn’t me, I wasn’t there.”
 
“I spend 18 hours locked in a cell. … That’s on a good day."


MORE AT LINK

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