GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.,None — A woman accused of killing her daughter-in-law in a Target parking lot has been found guilty and will spend the rest of her life in jail.
After several days of jury deliberation, Channel 2's Jeff Dore was in the Gwinnett County Courthouse when the verdict was announced Wednesday.
Joanna Hayes was on trial on a murder charge in the death of 25-year-old Heather Strube. Prosecutors said Hayes dressed up in a wig and fake mustache and shot Strube in front of her then-18-month-old son at a Snellville Target parking lot two years ago. Strube was involved in a divorce and custody battle with Hayes' son.
In court, prosecutors played a video recording of Hayes on the phone with her son, Steven. He asked her why she killed his wife, but Hayes denied it. Prosecutors said wig fibers found in Hayes' truck tied her to the shooting. Witnesses also testified that they watched the shooting. Some even picked Hayes' picture out of a lineup.
Hayes' defense questioned the reliability of witness testimony, but jurors didn't buy it. Hayes was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Shortly after the verdict came in, the judge sentenced Hayes to life in prison, plus five years.
Dore said Hayes cried upon finding out her sentence and told the judge she was innocent.
The victim's mother told Dore her family was afraid if Hayes ever got out of jail, she would come after them.