In the first interview since her conviction, a woman who gunned down her daughter-in-law in a Snellville Target parking lot maintains her innocence. She spoke exclusively to Channel 2’s Mark Winne at the Gwinnett County Jail.

“I didn’t do this. There’s not a bit of evidence that points to me that says I did this,” said Joanna Hayes.

Last month, Hayes was sentenced to life for murdering 25-year-old Heather Strube in April 2009. Strube was involved in a divorce and custody battle with Hayes’ son. Prosecutors said Hayes dressed up in a wig and fake mustache and shot Strube in front of her then-18-month-old son.

Prosecutors said wig fibers found in Hayes’ truck tied her to the shooting. Witnesses also testified that they watched the shooting. Some even picked Hayes’ picture out of a lineup, but she said she didn’t do it.

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“I did not murder Heather Strube,” Hayes told Winne.

Hayes told Winne the instant she heard the jury verdict, her heart dropped out of her chest.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Mark Winne Interviews Hayes In Jail

Hayes said she loved Heather dearly and was shocked when people testified that Heather was afraid of her.

“I think if a person is capable of something like that, it would have to show in their past, maybe,” Hayes said. “I have never in my life brought harm to anything.”

Hayes said she felt hollow and was in disbelief when she heard the word “Life” during her sentencing. She said she’s not sure why the jury made a bad call.

Hayes mentioned the toughest part of the trial for her, aside from receiving the guilty verdict, was hearing the testimony from her ex-husband.

During the trial, Steven Strube Sr. said on the stand, “She pulled the handgun out of the case and she put it to my head.”

Hayes maintains that did not happen.

Hayes’ defense team said the toughest call they had to make during the trial was deciding whether or not Hayes should take the stand in her defense.

Hayes’ defense attorney Bruce Morris said, “It was the right thing to do strategically to have her not testify but you wonder whether or not she missed her opportunity to tell her side of the story.”

Morris suggested Snellville Police zeroed in on his client as a primary suspect within the first 24 hours.

“I’m hopeful as the appeal process proceeds that some piece of evidence will come out. If an innocent person is convicted then a guilty person goes free,” said Morris.

She said prayer gets her through the days.

“Knowing that I can lay my head down and sleep at night because I know I’m right with my God, and I didn’t do it,” Hayes said. “I don’t have guilt to keep me awake.”

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