Jury set to deliberate on fate of a man accused of killing three Volusia County women

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The fate of a man accused of killing at least three Volusia County women is in the hands a jury after both sides finished closing arguments on Monday.

Robert Hayes, 38, is facing three murder charges.

Police said Hayes used a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson to kill Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton between 2005 and 2006.

The state said DNA evidence found on the victims and similarities of the three crime scenes, with another one 10 years later in Palm Beach County, which Hayes is also accused of, all link to him as the killer.

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Hayes’ defense team called into question some of that evidence.

On Monday, the defense focused on trying to pick apart the evidence of each case individually.

Meanwhile, the prosecution claimed the common threads between all three murders can only lead to one conclusion.

“Because the evidence is supported by fact and supported by science, I would ask that you return the verdict of that evidence and that’s finding Mister Hayes guilty as charged,” said prosecutor Andrew Urbanak.

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The state said Hayes was studying criminal justice at Bethune-Cookman University during the murders and bought the same gun type of gun used in the crimes just weeks before the killings began.

At this time, the actual murder weapon has not been found.

“They haven’t tied in a weapon, so all we know is it’s a 40-caliber, which there are many,” said defense attorney Francis Shea. “They have not tied in whether it’s a pistol in one case.”

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Hayes’ defense contends that just because his DNA is on the women who worked as prostitutes, does not mean he killed them.

Defense also said that at least two of the remote locations tire tracks were found and Hayes did not have access to a vehicle.

The jury will be back at the Volusia County Courthouse 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when the judge will go over instructions with jury and then isolate them until a verdict is reached.

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