Florida jury convicts serial killer Robert Hayes of 3 slayings

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Florida jury convicts serial killer Robert Hayes of 3 slayings

A Florida jury has found serial killer Robert Hayes guilty of slaying three women while he was majoring in criminal justice at college, prosecutors said.

Hayes, 39, was convicted by a Volusia County jury Tuesday of first-degree premediated murder for gunning down three women in late 2005 and 2006 as he attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida prosecutors said.

Hayes was found guilty of killing Laquetta Gunther, 45; Julie Green, 35, and Iwana Patton, 35, with a .40-caliber handgun he bought from a local store.

Robert Hayes
A jury has found Robert Hayes guilty in the deaths of three Florida prostitutes more than 15 years ago.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File
LaQuetta Gunther, Julie Ann Green and Iwana Patton
LaQuetta Gunther, Julie Ann Green and Iwana Patton were killed between 2005 and 2006 in Daytona Beach.
Rachel Bey
He is also charged with first-degree murder in Rachel Bey’s killing.

State Attorney R.J. Larizza said prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against the former college cheerleader and band member who had a darker side unknown to his friends.

Hayes is also accused of strangling a fourth woman, Rachel Bey, 32, whose nude body was found in Palm Beach County in March 2016. All four women worked as prostitutes, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Hayes was arrested in 2019 after DNA found on his cigarette was linked to Bey. Investigators then tied him to the three earlier slaying using ballistics and DNA evidence. An expert testified at Hayes’ trial that the chances the recovered DNA wasn’t from the college graduate was 1 in 3 septillion, prosecutors said.

Hayes is also charged with first-degree murder in Bey’s slaying. Prosecutor intend to seek the death penalty in that case as well.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, Fla., speaks during a news conference on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty during a penalty phase next week.
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File
Leroy Vaughn, who found the body of victim Laquetta Gunther, testifies over a Zoom link
Leroy Vaughn, who found the body of victim Laquetta Gunther, testifies over a Zoom link.
David Tucker/News Journal / USA
Assistant State Attorney Andrew Urbanak points to a photograph of a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol during accused serial killer Robert Hayes' trial, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
Robert Hayes killed the women with a .40-caliber handgun he bought from a local store.
David Tucker/News Journal / USA

A jury will take up Hayes’ penalty phase in the three slayings on Monday. If jurors don’t unanimously decide he should be sentenced to death, a judge will send him to prison for life without parole, the News-Journal reported.

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