Latest from Wednesday testimony: Witness: Young girl confided in him that Will Hayden sexually abused her
A 37-year-old woman testified Tuesday that former "Sons of Guns" reality TV personality Will Hayden raped her twice in the early 1990s, first when she was 12 after she smoked marijuana with him at his Cedarcrest apartment in Baton Rouge and then when she was 13 at his friend's home in Amite with Hayden's wife and children asleep in another room.
The woman, who now has three children of her own and is engaged to be married, said she reported the sexual assaults to law enforcement only after learning of Hayden's August 2014 arrest in another sexual assault case involving a young girl.
"I couldn't believe he did it again. I should have said something. I felt like if I had said something, it wouldn't have happened again," the woman said through tears on the first day of testimony at the 51-year-old Hayden's trial on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. He also faces sex crime charges in Livingston Parish.
An aggravated rape conviction would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The former "Sons of Guns" reality TV personality accused of raping two preteen girls has a "…
Another woman, Hayden's former personal assistant at Red Jacket Firearms in Baton Rouge, testified it was her reporting of an Aug. 4, 2014, incident at Hayden's Greenwell Springs Road home involving Hayden and a young girl that led to his arrest.
That girl is expected to testify at Hayden's trial, which will resume Wednesday in state District Judge Mike Erwin's 19th Judicial District courtroom.
Rebecca Ramsey, who said she trusted and cared deeply for Hayden, told an East Baton Rouge Parish jury of six women and six men, and one female alternate juror, that she walked into Hayden's home on that August 2014 afternoon to find what appeared to be an unclothed Hayden leaning over a preteen girl seated on a couch and kissing her intimately with his hands in her hair.
"I couldn't believe he was doing this to her," a sobbing Ramsey said.
Ramsey said she reported what she saw to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office the next morning and did not report to work. Afterward, she received online death threats and was essentially in protective custody for a while. Ramsey said she gained nothing from turning in her then-boss but "lost almost everything," including her many friends at Red Jacket Firearms, a Baton Rouge custom gun shop that served as the backdrop for the Discovery Channel "Sons of Guns" show from 2011 to 2014. The show was canceled amid his legal troubles.
Hayden's court-appointed attorney, Bo Rougeou, asked the jury in his opening statement earlier Tuesday to put aside how they likely feel about Hayden and listen to the facts before making a determination.
"Fame has two sides," Rougeou told the panel. "There's a target on your back."
Prosecutor Sonya Cardia-Porter stressed to the jury that child sexual assault is a "crime of secrecy" and said it will be the jury's job to judge the credibility of the victims in the absence of DNA evidence.
The woman who says Hayden twice raped her in the early 1990s testified he was "everybody's favorite" and "the cool person that everyone wanted to be around." So when he asked her in 1992 if she wanted to "get high," she accepted and joined him in his bedroom, where they smoked marijuana. Hayden was in his mid-20s at the time.
"The next thing I remember is him on top of me," she said, often taking deep breaths to collect herself. Hayden, she said, put his hand over her mouth and pulled her underwear and shorts off.
"I was scared. I didn't know what was happening. I wanted to leave and I couldn't," she said. "It hurt. I couldn't physically do anything. I just remember thinking I wanted this to end. … "
When it finally did, Hayden told her not to tell anyone, she testified. Hayden was "nonchalant, like it was no big deal," she added. The woman, on the other hand, said she was numb.
She said Hayden raped her a second time at a friend's house in Amite when she was 13, coming into the living room where she was lying on a couch and getting on top of her, despite her pleas for him to stop.
"He didn't listen," she said, testifying that Hayden held her hands above her head during the assault. "I was so scared. I didn't want to go through this again. I remember feeling I must have done something wrong."
The woman said Hayden gave her a hickey on her neck, which she said Hayden's then-wife Karen covered up the next morning with makeup.
Karen Hayden testified she was married to Will Hayden for 13 years before they divorced and confronted him about the mark on the girl's neck. She said she didn't recall covering the hickey up.
"We were very angry with each other," Karen Hayden said of her confrontation with Will Hayden. "I felt like he had cheated on me."
Under cross-examination questioning from Rougeou, Will Hayden's 37-year-old accuser denied getting the hickey from a boyfriend.
Ramsey, who said she had no reason to testify untruthfully against Hayden about what she saw in his home in August 2014, said he stood up quickly, grabbed a pair of blue pajama pants and held them in front of his genital area after she observed him on his sofa with a young girl.
"I was just thinking, 'Don't let him know that you saw him,'" she said. Ramsey said she stayed in the house for another 45 minutes — what she described as "the longest 45 minutes of my life" — before leaving Hayden's home.
When former "Sons of Guns" reality TV personality Will Hayden goes on trial on rape charges …
Hayden also is accused in Livingston Parish of sex crimes against Stephanie Hayden, his oldest daughter and former "Sons of Guns" co-star. Stephanie Hayden said on the "Dr. Phil" show in 2014 that her father entered her bedroom one night about two decades ago while intoxicated and pinched and kissed her while trying to remove her clothes. She said she escaped, and he did not touch her inappropriately again.