20 Aug 2014
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Murder Conviction Upheld in Snellville Target Murder Case

The case involves Joanna Hayes, who is accused of murdering her daughter-in-law in the Snellville Target parking lot in 2009.

Murder Conviction Upheld in Snellville Target Murder Case

In May 2011, Gwinnett County jurors found a Joanna Hayes guilty in the killing of her daughter-in-law.

That verdict was upheld in Georgia Supreme Court on Monday, March 4, after Hayes appealed the decision, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. 

The Gwinnett Daily Post reported that Hayes claimed "witnesses for the state were influenced by news coverage; that the images captured by surveillance cameras were unclear; that the fellow prisoners who testified against her were unreliable; and that the state only presented circumstantial evidence against her, which did not exclude all reasonable hypotheses except that of her guilt."

Joanna Hayes was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony,  according to a report by the Associated Press. Hayes was given life in prison for murdering Heather Strube in the Snellville Target parking lot in 2009.

Strube and her husband, Steven, were in the middle of a divorce when she was shot in April 2009. At the time, prosecutors said the couple had just completed a child custody swap, and they believe Hayes didn't want her daughter-in-law to get custody of the baby.

Prosecutors said that Hayes wore a mustache and a wig to attempt to disguise herself during the shooting. By October 2009, six months after the murder, Hayes had been arrested and charged, according to court data.

According to Georgia law, Hayes will not be eligible for parole for 30 years.

Her appeal was denied unanimously, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. According to Justice P. Harris Hines, "it is for the jury of to resolve conflicts in the evidence and questions of witness credibility, not this Court. The issues Hayes raises go to the weight of the evidence and, properly viewed, the evidence authorized the jury to find Hayes guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which she was convicted."

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