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March 9, 2023

Sons of Guns | The Story of Rapist Will Hayden

Sons of Guns | The Story of Rapist Will Hayden

At one point Sons of Guns was the most watched television show on TV.

The show which centered around the Hayden family gun shop Red Jacket Firearms, was headed towards a lifetime of income from the season renewals and growing popularity.

however all that was soon to change!

At one point Sons of Guns was the most watched television show on TV.

The show which centered around the Hayden family gun shop Red Jacket Firearms, was headed towards a lifetime of income from the season renewals and growing popularity.

however all that was soon to change!

After five seasons, the show was cancelled on August 27, 2014, as a direct result of William Hayden's arrest on various sexual charges.

On April 7, 2017, Hayden was convicted on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape.

 On May 11, 2017, Hayden was sentenced to two life sentences plus 40 years in prison to be served consecutively, for rape of two girls between ages of 11 and 13.

Bloody Angola host (s) Woody Overton and Jim Chapman break down the case, and give you the truth of this monster you will not hear anywhere else!

#Sonsofguns #Williamhayden #BloodyAngolapodcast

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Jim: Hey, everyone. And welcome back to Bloody-


Woody: -Angola.


Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.


Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.


Jim: And I'm Jim Chapman.


Woody: And I'm Woody Overton.


Jim: We're going to be talking about the Sons of Guns today. 


Woody: Right? A local phenomenon back in the day. Believe it or not, I've seen every episode of that show.


Jim: Really?


Woody: Yeah. I used to love to watch it.


Jim: Look, y'all, this gentleman-- not gentleman, dickhead [chuckles] that we're going to be talking about today is actually someone who a lot of you may be familiar with regardless of where you are in the country. So, we're just going to jump into it and the name of this episode is going to be Sons of Guns. 


Woody: Sons of Guns. 


Jim: Today, we're going to tell you the story of Will Hayden. Now, Will Hayden is a former American gunsmith television personality. He was a US Marine and he was former gun shop owner, and he's a current convicted child molester. It's a story of American triumph, but by the end, you're going to figure out it's covered in just tragedy. Now, Will Hayden is best known as the star of the 2011 Discovery Channel reality show entitled Sons of Guns, Woody Overton's favorite show back in the day. 


Woody: I did. I knew several of the guys that were on it. 


Jim: Sons of Guns was centered around a gun store in a workshop in Baton Rouge. Hayden and his family were featured on this show. Basically, y'all, think of it like a Duck Dynasty or even a Pawn Stars to some extent as far as what type of show it was. William Michael Hayden, who was the star of that show, was born on June 24th, 1965. He was raised in Louisiana, right here, close to where we're recording. Hayden had a large house fire when he was three, four years old. He stated in a 2011 interview that he actually remembered waking up to the fire and it was like eating him up, burning the bed, the sheets, his room. So, he almost died in that fire.


Now, by the age of 12, he began building firearms, very young age. He became, as you would imagine, starting that early, a firearms enthusiast. He would read about weapons of warfare all the time. Once described making his own zip gun, which I'm going to let Woody tell you what a zip gun is, but he made it as a kid at a junk he found at a construction site. 


Woody: A zip gun, y'all, especially a rudimentary form of a pistol. You still had to have a bullet, but it would have most times, not even a full barrel, like a half-groove thing, and you put the bullet in it, and it would have a firing pin mechanism. Sometimes, it's like a rubber band, but instead of a trigger, when you release that pin, it would strike the end of the cartridge and make the powder go off. And it's a one-shot wonder.


Jim: Yeah. Essentially a homemade gun. 


Woody: Right. Yeah, a homemade pistol. 


Jim: Yeah. He had this massive love for guns, but that didn't really match his love for school. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school to join the Marines. And credit to him that he earned his GED in the process.


Woody: Yeah, he had to have the GED to get in the Marines.


Jim: Yeah.


Woody: And that's a pretty standard deal. But at the age of 17, he was a bootcamp, and he graduated in 1982. He stayed with the Marines until 1987. He departed from the Marines after serving six years as a sergeant and returned to Louisiana. After three years of the show and 65 episodes later, William Hayden enjoyed the spotlights and the profits and the fame that his reality series helped him achieve. It was the Raiden Stackers and celebrity drawing, drop-ins and gave him an international platform to become a mascot of American gun culture.


Jim: Yeah. I'll say that in its heyday of that show, everybody knew who the hell he was and what that show was. 


Woody: Each episode might have a famous celebrity come in and say, "Hey, I want you to build me a .50 caliber sniper rifle." They were like, "Oh." "But I want it to do this special trick." He challenges people, and they would do it. Anyway, he gained fans and critics for both their unapologetic embraces and their love for the Second Amendment. However, with success masks disturbing truths behind the scenes, when Hayden's illegal extracurricular activities with minors would bring his success and fame to a screeching halt. Right?


Jim: Yeah. 


Woody: After he returned home from the service, Hayden started his own construction and refrigeration business while working on guns on the side. He decided to open his first business, Red Jacket Refrigeration, a name he later would use for his gun store. It was an acronym nod to his Choctaw heritage.


Jim: Now, during that time, he was married to his first wife, Trudy. He stayed with her for about eight years. They had three children. While Hayden continued to expand his knowledge for salvage and reconstruction, really working towards a future in a different line of work, he didn't really like what he was doing. He was a firearm enthusiast, and that kind of shaped a lot of things with him. His side businesses started to take off. And in 1999, he sold his main business and officially opened Red Jacket Firearms.


Now, his first commercial order was from a large distributor called Manotick Firearms for 20 rifles. That's a big deal. You're really opening your doors. From someone that's been there, you're praying to God, you get one order, or in my case, one podcast. So, 20 rifles, that's a big deal. In 1999, Hayden was running a warehouse that had a lot of surplus space, and he kind of took that idea and ran with it and started renting that warehouse and turned the extra room in that warehouse to a storefront for actually selling guns.


He had this idea and ran it by the owner of the building. It was a guy named Scotty Scardina, who had been Hayden's mentor in the refrigeration business. Scardina kind of supported the idea and allowed the business to be born. Hayden took all his savings and put it into starting this business, an investment of about $40,000. He supplemented it with purchases on credit, bank loans, and personal loans between friends. Everything seemed to be going right for Hayden, or so it seemed. Now, while Hayden was away attending a gun show, his business got robbed.


Woody: Right. On the way in the city today, I saw a billboard for Lamar Dixon Expo Center, a gun show in Lamar. Huge culture here doing it, y'all. But Hayden had taken the chance on doing this and going out on his own. But the robbery at Hayden's first gun store, was a catastrophe and destroyed the business before it had a chance to begin. Hayden returned to find the building stripped of everything valuable, with thieves disabling the alarms and keeping their identity secure to the security footage. So, he couldn't even find out who it was. Police initially suspected Hayden committing his own robbery to collect the payout from insurance. Then, Hayden revealed to the policeman that there was no insurance. 


Jim: [chuckles]


Woody: Right.


Jim: Well, there goes that theory. 


Woody: Meaning Hayden was robbed of his own inventory and lost the property of his customers selling through--[crosstalk] 


Jim: Oh, wow. So, he was consigning guns. 


Woody: He wasn't just building those 20 rifles. He was working on other people's firearms, which they were lost, and he would sell other people's stuff on consignment.


Jim: And with no insurance, you've got to pay those people back.


Woody: You're screwed. There was one client of Hayden's that put most of his own personal property on consignment so he could pay for his cancer treatments and medicine. Hayden was left in debt. Following the robbery, Hayden had a building with no stock, no money to buy more, and he owed money to people who lost their guns, owed rent, and needed money to live. The ATF had to be involved, considering how much ammo and what guns would be out there that were not accounted for.


Jim: Very good point.


Woody: [crosstalk] And that's a big deal. When you are firearms dealer, like that job, you got to keep strict records, and anytime some stolen, you got to report it. And this was a big deal. But the police theory of an inside job was later proven to be true. Only Hayden wasn't the one who did the robbery. Hayden has declined to share who. But the close-to-home betrayal started the bitter divorce with his wife, Trudy. Hayden soon found himself homeless, living in the back of the warehouse. 


Jim: You believe that? He goes from opening that business and just getting 20 orders for rifles right off the bat to now he's homeless, living in the back of a warehouse, etc. His wife and him, I'm sure financial-- that's typically what you're going to argue over. He had a problem. But he'd soon kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel. His mentor, which was the guy we told you about, Scotty Scardina, who Hayden owed money to open his own gun business called Red Stick Firearms. This all happened in the Baton Rouge area, y'all, and Red Stick in French means Baton Rouge, Bâton Rouge. 


Woody: Yeah. Actually, I think they got started from the Indian tribes way back and the French when they were here.


Jim: Stole it like they did everything else from the Indians. 




Jim: Did I say that out loud? 


Woody: [crosstalk] 


Jim: The deal was simple that he made with Scardina, and that was Hayden would work off his debt by spearheading the creation of Scardina's gun store, getting the privilege of living in the back of the store. Hayden knew it would take years to pay out his debt. Now, Hayden knew he'd have to work to pay back his loans, but also, he was a little bit concerned about his reputation. Working for Scardina that would kind of give him what he viewed as a much needed platform for his comeback. He goes and he orders 20 AK-47 assault rifles from a distributor in Arizona. In exchange for knocking a little off the price, the distributor listed the guns and advertisements as "proudly manufactured by Red Jacket."


Now, that gave head and kind of the leverage he needed to attract more work. It just made him look more legit. 


Woody: I got my own brand, basically.


Jim: It's called private labeling. And it happens all over-- in many different industries. 


Woody: Yeah. [crosstalk] from here and local people putting their name on seasons and stuff like that. Hayden had a lot of debts to repay, and he picked up side security jobs from an apartment complex. He had many debts to pay back, but a man with cancer particularly weighed on his mind, and he had to make it right for him. While Hayden was living at the Red Stick, it was almost robbed again. After first attempting to pry the door open, the would-be burglars rammed a car through the front of the building. The burglars only being surprised by Hayden's presence in the middle of the night, gunfight, in which Hayden fired back against the unknown intruders with a MAC submachine gun fired with the closest Hayden shots towards the roof in attempt of making intruders leave. Now, think about that. 


Jim: That'll make you run.


Woody: Yeah. It's like me, I'm not going to rob a pawn shop, because you see the guys behind the counter, they got pistols on. I'm definitely not going-- if I was smart enough, I mean, nobody's going to be there from a ram my car through the building. You know, they got weapons. 


Jim: Pops Hayden with a submachine gun. [mimicking shooting] Yeah, you're going to run. By 2003, Hayden, he's still under payments to his creditors, but things were looking up. His daughter turned 18, and he brings her into the business. Initially, she didn't want anything to do with that. She's like all the typical 18-year-olds, and probably especially female 18-year-olds, they don't want to play with daddy's guns and all that sort of thing. So, he brings her into the business. She was already working numerous jobs that she liked at that time. Didn't really want to quit those. But daddy got his way, and Stephanie joined the business full time. Scardina then separated from the Haydens, allowing them to buy the essential tools and parts from the company. Scardina left the management of the business in the hands of his children, and Hayden rented a new property off of Baton Rouge's Florida Boulevard, which is like a main thoroughfare in Baton Rouge. That became the storefront of Red Jacket Firearms. With this new store, he built that first order of 20 AK-47 assault rifles, which they came in not built, it was just a kit. 


Woody: Yeah. Put them together and he could do everything from customized trigger pulls to whatever.


Jim: Period. Put an emphasis on manufacturing weapons rather than simply trading them. His big brainstorm in all this was, "Hey, I'm not buying a put-together gun. I'm customizing it to whatever you want. You want the flashlight and the night sights on it? No problem, we'll pop them on there." Completely customizing, even right down to the paint of these guns. He adopted a motto at that point. That was, "If you can dream it, we can build it." They served a clientele ranging from collectors to members of the military to police departments. And created a new name for themselves at Red Stick Firearms. They also restored historical weaponry like flamethrowers and cannons. Now, they're moving along at this point. They're very well known. 


One morning in 2009, Hayden uploaded a video of himself on YouTube having a range session with one of his favorite guns. The video showed him dressed in a tank top, firing-- or bunny slippers, actually, and firing a short-barreled Saiga-12 fully automatic shotgun with an in-your-face attitude. Hayden closed the video with the shout out for his brand, turning to the camera after a crack in the final shot, and says, "Red Stick, motherfucker." 




Woody: That's crazy. Y'all, this video would be seen by not only people in his own backyard, but also people on the opposite side of the country. Hollywood will soon be calling his name. Discovery Channel had seen Hayden and his video and were intrigued to know more. The network was in its early stages of developing a reality television show that would want to know more, especially concerning American gun culture. They wanted a unique telegenic character, and at the time, Hayden seemed to be that mom-and-pop shop character for the viewers on their new TV show. Once Hayden and Red Stick Jacket were discovered, work progressed quickly, bringing the show's concept to life. They sent an exploratory team to investigate in Louisiana for footage. And within months, Sons of Guns was good to go. Sons of Guns was spearheaded by an Emmy award winning Discovery Channel executive, Dolores Gavin, whose previous successes in reality TV included the Alaskan Bush People, Moonshiners, and Ice Road Truckers


Jim: Absolute genius. 


Woody: I've seen all these episodes--[crosstalk] 


Jim: Yeah. And Dolores Gavin is an absolute genius. Very well known. Soon, Red Jacket firearms gained popularity. Y'all, this was almost overnight. This dude put up one video on YouTube, and it just happened for him. Lightning strikes sometimes. He became one of the most popular and famous firearm shops in the world, y'all. This was the Las Vegas Pawn Stars of the south as far as firearm shops were concerned. Everybody knew it. It was world famous. By the time Sons of Guns debuted on January 26th, 2011, the Red Jacket Firearms had grown, and it had a wide range of eccentric individuals. Now, some of whom would sign on to the show's core cast over that five seasons was, of course, Discovery Channel sees this eccentric characters, and they're like, "Wow, they'd be awesome as repeat guests." While some of the show's scenes were staged for the eclectic viewing purposes, some were not. 


The cast of the show had a family-like bond, some of which had predated the arrival of the show and all of its lights, camera, action stuff. As you can imagine, y'all, especially being where it was located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we're not used to walking in a store and having any filming and all those sorts of things. So, people were just blown away, and it was just lights, camera, action all around. Stephanie's husband, Kris Ford, whom she had previously met in 2009, was actually convinced to begin working as an apprentice on Red Jacket. So, that's the daughter's husband. 


Now, two other key members were a guy by the name of Joe Meaux, who was the company's COO. He was a marksman and mechanic who was often the deciding voice on the show when it came to determining the feasibility of a custom firearm job. So, they would consult him and say, "Is this possible or what?" Also included in the key members of Red Jacket were Charlie Watson. He was actually a very well-educated forensic scientist.


Woody: I'll tell you about Charlie. Actually, this was Charlie's side gig. He was employed full time Louisiana State Police Crime Lab as firearms expert, and he's been out on many of my homicide scenes. He's a genius, super, super, super intelligent, and you can just tell that by talking to him. But firearms? Yeah, you better believe he knows his business.


Jim: There you go. We've got our own resident expert over here, Woody Overton, at Bloody Angola as well. Also, Glenn Fleming, who was a shop welder. Actually, he later left the show to open his own store, which was known as Acadiana Gunworks. 


Woody: Y'all, together, the staff worked on custom commissioned gun jobs or restored historical oddities, and sometimes bringing in an outside consultant, depending on the project. Their expertise and their work brought the ratings in. The show was a watchable show. They would test their work before handing over the guns to their clientele. It was the chance of watching something be a success or failure of blowing up that, that brought viewers back for every episode. It was the firing of Civil War cannons and grenades with the shoot-it-and-see-what-happens approach, which launched the show into the skyrocket ratings. 


Over the next three years, Hayden and the staff built something bizarre or would team up with famous guests to develop weapons for a specific theme, only to be highlighted and published in a book of Hayden's favorite moments in 2014. For the second season episode, Will's Floating Fortress, although this would not be the only highlight of the year, Red Jacket worked with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office to attach a M240 machine gun and an Mk 19 grenade launcher to the department's gulf patrol [crosstalk] Hayden would later describe as beyond cool when testing equipment. I remember this episode.


They got like some federal grant terrorist money. Even the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office had some people who would assist on these antiterrorist teams, and they built these special rigs just to run up and down the river, which y'all here, we have all the plants and stuff which are susceptible to terrorist attacks.


Another guest was a World War II veteran, Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, who was a survivor of the battle of Iwo Jima, who wanted to restore an old flamethrower from the war. This project proved to be rather risky considering working with a flamethrower. 


Jim: He was a real hero--[crosstalk]  


Woody: I remember that one too. 


Jim: Yeah. Another guest would be none other than Max Brooks, who was the writer of World War Z, who would come in to brainstorm potential weapons for that zombie attack in his show.


However, the show wasn't on long before it stirred up trouble in the news. The production set off a minor incident at the Dallas Fort Worth airport when on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a member of the crew left a Penske rental truck unattended outside the terminal while waiting for another crew to arrive. Naturally, the show being called Sons of Guns, the truck was loaded with firearms and explosives, an extremely stupid thing to leave sitting around an airport unattended. Even worse that the spot of the airport was a known reception area for soldiers coming back from the Middle East. Yeah, somebody wasn't thinking on that one.


Now, federal officials shut down roads leading to the terminal for two hours as a canine and bomb squad staged a response team nearby. No one was harmed, and it didn't delay the flights. But a production company executive later apologized, calling it "a colossal error in judgment by a member of our staff." You think? 


Woody: Yeah.


Jim: That wasn't the only issue that occurred, though y'all. As the show came under increased scrutiny by the media. It was Hayden's past that alerted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, otherwise known as the ATF, that was soon alerted to and uncovered. This one in 2009 caused both him and his daughter, Stephanie, to surrender their federal firearms licenses, otherwise known as FFLs. Now, during a routine inspection operation by the Bureau, it was discovered that 10 guns registered to Red Jacket were missing and unaccounted for, which is a major violation for gun business. This time, there was no robbery to blame for the missing weapons, so the agency punished them by revoking their licenses. While Will and Stephanie were punished as individuals, the ATF compromised with them when it came to keeping Red Jacket in business. The business was restructured, with a licensed gun dealer taking over the company. And Will and Stephanie would essentially take on employee roles on paper at least.


Woody: They said they brought it in another FFL person that had their FFL to do it because they had to have it. You can't sell firearms without your FFL. 


Jim: And it's a major thing for guns to come up missing.


Woody: That's a big deal because that's 10 firearms that are missing. I suspect that they were on the street or sold illegally. But from 2011 to 2014, Hayden received nationwide fame when Sons of Guns, a reality TV program focusing on specialized firearms builds that Red Jacket aired on Discovery Channel. As a result of Hayden's arrest, the show was canceled. On August 11th, 2014, Will Hayden was arrested by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department on charges of child molestation and aggravated crime against nature. Within weeks, an additional charge of aggravated rape of a child was added.


Jim: Murder Bayou. 


Woody: Right. Who was Hayden's victim? Hayden's victim was his own daughter, who he began raping repeatedly in 2013 when she was 11 years old. The details of Hayden's crimes are devastating and terrifying, with Hayden's younger daughter being threatened with violence should she report the abuse. She would later tell investigators he had once demanded of her, among other things, "Don't tell them nothing, because I'm all you got." On August 27th, 2014, Will Hayden had been legally separated from control of Red Jacket, and Discovery announced that the show had been canceled. It was the beginning of September. After initially defendant Hayden, Stephanie revealed that her father had molested her as a child as well. And Hayden's younger daughter was removed from his custody for good.


Jim: Absolutely disgusting. Let me tell you something, from Discovery Channel's probably perspective. First of all, they're not going to have anything to do with this now, whether it's alleged, whether it's proved, whatever. But on the other side of that, this was a hugely successful show. I'm sure they were pissed they had to cancel this show, that this idiot, it turned out to be a disgusting, child chomo bitch. But anyway, it was good for nobody at this point. And as Woody said, on August 8th of 2014, he got arrested for molestation of a juvenile and aggravated crimes against nature for alleged sexual behavior with another 12-year-old juvenile that allegedly occurred on August 4th, 2014, just four days before he was arrested. Just four days before he was arrested. His bond was set at $150,000, which he bonded out the following day. Hayden claimed the allegations were false and made in retaliation by a vengeful ex-girlfriend, which turned out to be the 12-year-old's mother.


On August 26th of 2014, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office detectives rebooked Hayden for aggravated rape of the same juvenile, and his bond was set at $250,000. He was subsequently charged with the rape of a child, based on the statements of the victim. The victim stated it happened 22 years ago when she stayed with Hayden and his family at an apartment on Cedar Crest Avenue, which is in the Broadmoor area of Baton Rouge. Now, soon after, multiple women, both in and outside of the family would come forward to accuse Hayden of unwanted sexual advances and rape. All of a sudden, people are coming out of the woodworks. 


Woody: Obviously, you put the handcuffs on the monster, and people come out. And why didn't they come out before? Because they're afraid of him. 


Jim: Absolutely. And Stephanie actually appeared on Dr. Phil in mid-September of that year, bravingly addressing her father's true nature as a predator who once scared her so much, she began to make a habit of carrying knives when she was around him. Stephanie said, "I'm very afraid of him. I think he has spent his entire life manipulating people and hurting people. He has controlled my entire world." Stephanie described her experience of going on to Dr. Phil and telling her story, calling it "terrifying." She also recanted an earlier statement she had made in support of Hayden in which she had only released under pressure, saying, "My dad was hovering over my shoulder when he asked me to write that statement."


Woody: I bet he was. The moment the criminal accusations became public, the show was doomed from continuing. Soon after, the rest of the cast would feel the burn of Hayden's public yet criminal tendencies. Stephanie and her husband, Kris, were both arrested in 2014, taken into custody in November for charges completely unrelated to Hayden's sexual felonies. Both their charges stemmed from one incident, when the father of one of Stephanie's children noticed that his son with her, who was nine years old at the time, had a large bruise along his side. The bruise was a result of being struck with a belt by his stepfather, Kris. The father reported the incident, and Kris was charged with cruelty to juveniles, with Stephanie also being charged with being a principal to cruelty to juveniles, a felony offense. If the charges would have stood-- However, the charges were actually dropped within a week. 


Five months after Hayden's arrest, more criminal acts on Hayden's part came to light as his trial proceedings began. Unbeknownst to Red Jacket Firearms COO, Joe Meaux, who was willing to run into business by this point, Hayden had entered into secret licensing agreements with a Texas-based car dealership, trading on a Red Jacket name and covertly earning money for himself. Hayden was also, it was discovered, misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars' worth of funds from the business charge account to buy inventory for a side business, Red Jacket Muzzleloading, which he set up with himself as the sole owner. All the violations compelled Meaux and his remaining business partners to file a breach of contract lawsuit against the company's founder. Coupled with the gravely serious rape allegations, Hayden's estimation in the eyes of his peers cratered. "I think why he thought he would get away with all this," Meaux said, "unless he is a psychopathic megalomaniac." 


When penalties and damages had been considered in full, Hayden was ordered by a state judge to reimburse his former business partners for more than $130,000, a pretty hefty hit to take for someone who is preparing to fight rape charges in court. 


Jim: Yeah, no doubt about it. Hayden's crimes shook his former partners to the core. His misdeeds really cast a shadow that they are kind of still working to escape. I mean, you can imagine, the whole name of that business, even though the business itself may have been a great business, it's worth nothing when you have these kinds of things going down around you. "You don't want to believe somebody you have known over the past five years had the capability of doing that," said Joe Meaux, who was one of the people on that show, a cast member. He said that shortly after Hayden's initial arrest, the revelation of his true nature was like a final puzzle piece falling into place. His rough edges weren't charming aspects of an otherwise kind-hearted man. His domineering nature was not quaint. It was abusive. He was not a stern but loving hero to admire but he most surely wanted to be seen that way. Meaux also said, "One time, I considered Will a friend, but looking back on it, a lot of our interactions had ulterior motives."


Now, seeing all the people stepping forward now really brings a light to how much control he was trying to impart on everything around him. The official charges against Hayden were as follows. In East Baton Rouge Parish, he was tried for two counts of aggravated rape against one minor, and a count of forcible rape against another person with whom Hayden had raped for more than 20 years prior when she was a child. He also faced charges for aggravated rape and aggravated incest in Livingston Parish. Hayden pled not guilty to all the charges in his first trial. That always happens, typically, unless you're taking a plea bargain. But the trial would take years to resolve, with Hayden's three private attorneys abandoning him after six months for undisclosed reasons. 


Woody: It's called "the money ran out."


Jim: Yeah, that's exactly right. He was assigned a public defender, which was Attorney Bo Rougeou. By the time his trial went underway, his first accuser was 15. The lawyers said that the confidential conditions for their representation had not been met, but there were no bitterness between them and Hayden, of course. Hayden was represented by a public defender at a later court date, and facing her molester in court, the plaintiff became ill multiple times during her devastating testimony. "He ruined my life," she said, describing how Hayden's actions led her to both self-medicate and self-mutilate. "Never going to be the same. But I'm a survivor, not a victim. At the end of the day, this is going to be a survivor's day." District Attorney Hillar Moore passed that on. 


Woody: Right. Y'all, one of the victims left the courthouse with a family. Although not willing to speak to media, Hillar Moore said her testimony, which at some point was unbearable to hear, told it all. 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. It's that powerful testimony combined with the accounts of others close to the case that Moore believes made a difference. "Too often nowadays, we see people who do not want to get involved. They turn their heads and look the other way. That did not happen in this case," Moore stated.


On April 7th, 2017, Hayden was convicted of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape of two girls he raped over the course of two decades. The jury found William Hayden guilty on the rape charges, and they took over an hour to deliberate. Y'all, that's short. The verdict was unanimous and comes with a mandatory life sentence. Actually, times two because there's two victims. But on April 7th, 2017, Hayden was unanimously found guilty on all charges, sentenced on May 11th to two life sentences plus 40 years. On July 12th, he pled no contest to his charges in Livingston Parish and was sentenced to life again plus 10 years. That's three life sentences plus 50 years. So, if you live and die and born again, life, die, born again, life, die, and then you got another 50 years to serve.


Jim: And he deserves every--[crosstalk] 


Woody: Exactly. He was convicted of sex crimes in April and July 2017, receiving three life sentences, and is currently serving those sentences at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Hayden faced three charges of aggravated rape in East Baton Rouge Parish, and an aggravated rape and an indecent behavior with juvenile charge in Livingston Parish. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office added a forcible rape charge.


Jim: Now, detectives in Livingston Parish said the rape charge is from a March 2013 incident involving a girl that was 11 years old at the time. They added another girl to come forward and said she was the victim of Hayden's when she was 12 or 13 years old. He was charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile for both of those actions. Those charges originally led to the cancellation of Sons of Guns, as we told you about. Hayden was in basically just a boatload of trouble. Obviously, he's getting all these-- he's going to court every time you turn around and still had some trials left.


Woody: Yeah. But District Attorney Hillar Moore said the damage had been done, but Hayden needed to be held responsible for ruining their families beyond repair. It will always stay with them through the years, holiday, special events, and never goes away. Hayden should be punished for the fracturing of these families. 


Jim: Couldn't agree with that more. I'll tell you a little bit about the 15-year-old victim. During the final hours of trial, the prosecution calls their final witness, which was an expert in child abuse, as is common in these cases. The expert said she conducted a physical exam of the victim, and she didn't find anything striking or unusual that would need to prove or disprove physical abuse. However, the victim's genital area was consistent with sexual activity. She also noticed the girl was cutting, which is self-inflicted wounds that's usually-- and this is my comment on this, that's usually indicative of someone who is going through some trauma like rape, something that they feel like they can't speak up on. So, they're self-mutilating themselves almost in shame.


Woody: Also, when they do the cuttings or the hurting of themselves, for that one second, it's taking away the pain they can't think about how they were offended against.


Jim: 100%. So, he goes to Angola.


Woody: Forever times a million lives, right? 


Jim: Right. 


Woody: The rest of them, y'all, just a couple of touch-ups, in case you were wondering. Kris and Stephanie turned their attention toward other family businesses, including an airsoft range called IAC Wargames and a gun store, Forward Guns operated by Kris' father, Gary. Glenn Fleming meanwhile spent years producing his own content on YouTube with a channel called the Gunner's Vault. 


Jim: Yeah, 100%, I'm actually familiar. If I'm not mistaken, he still lives in Livingston Parish and has a YouTube channel. They are off the TV and on their own now, obviously, all these people that had to be affiliated with this jackass. And now, their lives are kind of truly theirs. No lights, no cameras, no villains, just some good old boys and girls down in the bayou with their guns, a lot of ammo, and the rest of their lives ahead of them. While-


Woody: Hayden rots-


Jim: -in Bloody Angola. 


Woody: Bloody Angola.


Jim: [laughs] Yes, he does. And I hope he's getting screwed up the ass every day. 


Woody: [crosstalk] -tossing salads and washing dirty drawers, right?


Jim: Yeah. 


Woody: Let me tell you something. He was a big, big, big pro law enforcement like Denny Perkins, but he ingratiated himself to all these sheriffs and everything and big supporter of law enforcement and all that. Why? Because he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Right? 


Jim: 100%. Probably a shining example of a real, true life serial child molester. 


Woody: Absolutely. 


Jim: He would have been the 70-year-old guy trying to give the little 10-year-old girl candy, all that sick crap. So, rot in hell. 


Woody: Rot in hell, William Hayden. And Patreon members, thank you. To all our listeners, thank you. But Patreon members, thank you so much for your support. Y'all, go check it out. You go to Patreon and type in "Bloody Angola," we have so many episodes, special bonus episodes put up, and we have a whole bunch of different tiers, different support levels that you can do if you should choose to or if you want to. But if you like Bloody Angola, you're going to love all these bonus episodes. 


Jim: Yeah, you're really going to love it. I'll tell you, you get some really great benefits if you're listening to this through our regular channels. We love it. And hey, if you can't join the Patreon, we get it. We understand. 


Woody: Absolutely. 


Jim: No worries at all. If you can, you won't have to listen to the commercials, all of our tiers, you get commercial-free episodes, and you also get early drops, at least 24 hours early in most cases. As you step up in tier, you get more benefits. Heck, our Warden members, we send them some pretty darn good gifts every three months. And it's different every time. So, thank y'all so much. 


Woody: And make sure to like and subscribe and keep sharing this to everybody. If you can't be a Patreon member, that's cool. We love you anyway, but we got to give them a shoutout. Y'all, we continue to grow, and we're blessed.


Jim: We're blessed. We appreciate all y'all for taking time out to listen to us talk about something we're very passionate about. That's the prison system, and Bloody Angola in particular. And until next time, I'm Jim Chapman. 


Woody: And I'm Woody Overton.


Jim: Your host of Bloody-


Woody: -Angola. 


Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making. 


Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.


Woody and Jim: Peace.




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