Serial Killer Robert Tyrone Hayes Murdered Four Innocent Women

He and One of His Victims Went to the Same College. So Why Do We Hear about His Cheerleading and All We Hear About Her is Her Sex Work?

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

--

copyright free from the Volusia County Sheriff’s office

The conviction this week of 39-year-old serial killer Robert Tyrone Hayes in the murder of three sex workers in the mid-2000s is a chilling reminder that predators can hide in plain sight. According to various media sources, Hayes was a criminal justice major and cheerleader at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida while murdering three innocent women.

Then he became the Daytona Beach Serial Killer. He was only 22 when he began his killing career.

Hayes was on no one’s radar. Police had questioned him twice, simply because he had purchased a 40-caliber handgun around the time the first victim died; police were then looking at everyone who had purchased a similar gun. There was nothing else to raise a red flag; no felony convictions, no anonymous tips implicating him, no history of domestic violence. He seemed to be a well-adjusted college student.

Preying on the Vulnerable

Hayes’ victims had experienced much tougher lives. Hayes killed 45-year-old Laquetta Gunther, 34-year-old Julie Green, and 35-year-old Iwana Patton over three months between December 2005 and February 2006. They were all found abandoned, nude, and face down on dirt roads in out-of-the-way locations (a garbage-strewn alley, on the edge of a construction zone, in a wooded, undeveloped area). Someone had shot each of them in the head.

At least two of the victims had a history of sex work. Prosecutors asserted that Ms. Patton did not appear to engage in regular sex work but may have done so out of a desperate need for money; her niece says otherwise. At the time of her death, her aunt worked two jobs (as a caregiver for an assisted living facility) and was helping her raise her five children. She denies that her aunt did drugs or sold sex for money and doesn’t know how her aunt crossed paths with her killer. She suspects he lured her by pretending to need some help.

Hayes’ defense acknowledged that his client had consensual sex with all three women (he…

--

--

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.