Convicted rapist and ex-"Sons of Guns" reality TV personality Will Hayden was sentenced Thursday to life in prison, plus 40 years, for sexually assaulting two preteen girls in East Baton Rouge Parish, one in the early 1990s and the other several years ago.
Hayden, 51, of Greenwell Springs, did not speak at his sentencing that lasted just a few minutes, nor did his now-37-year-old victim who attended the swift court proceeding. The younger victim, who is now 15, was not in the courtroom.
When the 37-year-old woman emerged from state District Judge Mike Erwin's 19th Judicial District courtroom, she smiled and said, "Thank God!" She chose not to speak to a reporter.
A 15-year-old girl testified Wednesday that then-"Sons of Guns" reality TV personality Will …
Hayden was found guilty April 7 on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. Aggravated rape carries a mandatory term of life behind bars.
Erwin, who presided over Hayden's trial, sentenced him to concurrent life terms on the aggravated rape convictions and a consecutive 40-year prison term on the forcible rape conviction. The judge ordered the sentences be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Hayden still faces rape and other sex crimes charges in Livingston Parish and is set for trial July 10, but 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said Thursday his office has consulted with the alleged victims in the Livingston case and plans to dismiss those charges before or on that trial date. Perrilloux said the charges would be dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled if for some reason Hayden's Baton Rouge convictions were overturned.
"Our concerns are for the community and the victims," he said.
Hayden's Baton Rouge victims testified at his trial that he raped them over two-year periods. The younger victim said he repeatedly raped her in 2013 and 2014 when she was 11 and 12, including at his Greenwell Springs home and in his truck. The older woman, who has three children of her own and is engaged, said Hayden raped her twice in the early 1990s when she was 12 and 13. She said the first rape occurred at Hayden's apartment in Cedarcrest after they smoked marijuana. He was in his mid-20s at the time.
Hayden testified in his own defense and denied the rape allegations, but an East Baton Rouge Parish jury unanimously found him guilty after one hour of deliberation.
Former "Sons of Guns" reality TV personality Will Hayden took the witness stand Thursday and…
His court-appointed trial attorney, Bo Rougeou, filed a motion last week asking Erwin to appoint the Louisiana Appellate Project to handle Hayden's appeal.
In Livingston, Hayden is accused on another aggravated rape count of the same 15-year-old girl who testified against him in the Baton Rouge case. He also is charged with aggravated incest of his oldest daughter and former "Sons of Guns" co-star Stephanie Hayden, who appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show in 2014 and said her father entered her bedroom one night about 20 years ago while drunk and pinched and kissed her while trying to take her clothes off. She told the talk show host she managed to escape her father and he did not touch her inappropriately again.
"Sons of Guns" aired on the Discovery Channel from 2011 until 2014 and featured Red Jacket Firearms, a custom gun shop in Baton Rouge. The show was canceled following Hayden's first arrest in the summer of 2014.