Former reality TV personality Will Hayden, who was depicted in the show Sons of Guns on the Discovery Channel, will spend the rest of his life in jail following a unanimous conviction by a jury. Hayden had been the star of the show, which was based on his family's custom firearms business, from 2011 until Hayden's arrest in 2014. Hayden has been found guilty of raping two preteen girls more than two decades apart.
The two victims, one 15 and the other 37, were seen hugging each other and crying in court following the conviction, according to The Advocate. The jury had come to their conclusion following a one hour deliberation and four days of testimony from victims.
“This was a young child that was raped at a very young age, and she chose to testify in front of the jury, in front of her abuser, and she actually threw up five times while testifying,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said.
Moore added that he hopes the decision encourages more to come forward for the sake of justice. "There is a way out," he said. He also wants this case to be an example of the worth of life sentences in certain cases.
Both accusers had said they were raped repeatedly in their early pre-teens by Hayden. The older accuser stated she decided to come forward with her story after hearing about Hayden's arrest following accusations from the younger.
Hayden denied the allegations throughout the trial. He was characterized as a "master manipulator" by prosecutor Sonya Cardia-Porter. "Don't let him manipulate you like he manipulated them all those years," she implored the jury. "That show [Sons of Guns was] acting, and he acted on that [witness] stand like he acted on that show."
Hayden had been caught kissing the younger victim by his former personal assistant, who alerted the police immediately.
"We no longer have victims in this case, we have survivors," Moore said outside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse. "This is the survivors' day." The accusers left without comment.
Hayden will go on to face further sex crime charges, some involving his oldest daughter, who came forward with a horrifying story of sexual abuse on an episode of Dr. Phil. She claims her father entered her bedroom and attempted to disrobe her but she managed to escape.
[Photo: East Baton Rouge Parish Prison]
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