Closing arguments end in trial for accused Daytona Beach serial killer; jury deliberations begin Tuesday

Robert Hayes, 39, faces murder charges in deaths of 3 women

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Closing arguments were presented Monday in the trial of a man accused of killing three women in Daytona Beach.

Robert 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.

The jury will return to court Tuesday and begin deliberations.

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Opening statements happened on Feb. 11 where prosecutors showed a timeline of all three murder cases that look place in Daytona Beach. Throughout the trial, jurors were told they will be hearing from several experts.

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 Gunter, Green and Patton. Police said the women 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.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.