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Jury: Ex-cheerleader guilty in killings of 3 Florida women

Dave Aronberg
Posted at 3:27 PM, Feb 23, 2022

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A former college cheerleader has been found guilty of the deaths of three Florida women who were working as prostitutes more than 15 years ago.

Thirty-nine-year-old Robert Hayes of West Palm Beach could now get the death penalty.

The jury deliberated for eight hours before coming back with a guilty verdict, the Associated Press reported.

The killings happened in the winter of 2006 when Hayes was a senior criminal justice major at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach.

He was arrested in 2019, three years after another killing led investigators to match DNA from all four crimes.

Hayes had been questioned, but not arrested, in the Daytona Beach killings years earlier because he had purchased a .40-caliber handgun similar to the one used against the first three victims.

Hayes' sentencing will begin next week, the AP reported.

According to the AP, the bodies of 45-year-old Laquetta Gunther, 34-year-old Julie Green, and 35-year-old Iwana Patton were all found nude, lying face down, with a gunshot to the head.

Gunther's body was found around Christmas 2005 in a gap between an auto parts store and a mostly empty utility building. Green's body was found on a dirt road at a construction site on Jan. 14, 2006. Patton's body was found along a dirt road on Feb. 24, the news outlet reported.