Trial continues for man accused of killing 3 women in Daytona Beach

Prosecutors seeking death penalty if Robert Hayes, 39, is convicted

Robert Hayes, accused of killing three women in Daytona Beach, appears virtually during a court hearing on Friday, Jan. 14. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The murder trial of a man accused of killing three women in Daytona Beach continued Monday.

Hayes, 39, is accused of killing three women, Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton, in Daytona Beach in 2005 and 2006. Hayes is also charged in the killing of a woman in 2016 in Palm Beach County.

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A Daytona Beach police detective who originally worked the case was called to the stand Monday by state prosecutors. He told jurors that the same ballistic and DNA evidence was found at two of the crime scenes.

Opening statements began Friday, with jurors hearing from at least four witnesses, including the owner of a gun store where Hayes purchased a firearm in 2005.

The jury was told they would hear from several experts throughout the trial.

Hayes was arrested in Palm Beach County in 2016 on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Rachel Elizabeth Bey, who was found strangled and sexually battered on the side of a road, according to authorities.

At the time of that arrest, officials said they were working to connect Hayes to the deaths of Gunter, Green and Patton, who were shot and killed in Daytona Beach a decade prior.

Authorities said DNA evidence from crime scenes that was run through genealogy sites eventually linked Hayes, who was a student at Bethune-Cookman University at the time of the slayings, to the deaths of the three women. Police said the victims were fatally shot when they got into a car with a stranger and their bodies were dumped in a secluded area.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, if Hayes is convicted.

Testimony will continue Tuesday.