Guilty Verdict in Joanna Hayes Murder Trial
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A Gwinnett County jury has convicted Joanna Hayes on all charges in the shooting death of her daughter-in-law, Heather Strube, in 2009.
Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday afternoon after deliberating for about 20 hours. Hayes wept in open court as the verdict came down. Addressing the court, she told the judge she loved her daughter-in-law and would not kill her.
Hayes was sentenced to life in prison for the gunning down Heather Strube in the parking lot of a Snellville Target store.
Authorities said Strube was in the middle of a divorce with her husband, Stephen, at the time. Prosecutors said the couple had just finished making a custody swap in the parking lot when she was shot and killed. Prosecutors contended Hayes did not want Heather Strube to get custody of the child.
“This woman did this with an 18-month-old child witnessing it,” said Mary Allen, Heather Strube’s mother. “How much more evil can you be?”
“A grave injustice has been done today. She didn’t do this. She has never done anything like this in her life,” said Lois Hands, Hayes’ mother.
Hayes will serve a minimum of 30 years in prison and was ordered not to make contact with her grandson or his family.