Will Hayden, a Louisiana gunsmith who previously starred in a reality show about his custom firearms business, has been sentenced to life in prison for rape, The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge reported Thursday.
Hayden’s sentencing in an East Baton Rouge Parish court came a month after his April 7 conviction on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. Aggravated rape carries an automatic life sentence and the forcible rape charge adds an additional 40 years to his sentence, The Advocate said.
The two victims were both preteens when they were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Hayden, one in the early 1990s and the other in 2013-14. The older victim, now age 37, was at sentencing but declined to speak to the media, The Advocate said.
The 51-year-old Greenwell Springs man was set to face additional sexual assault charges in a trial in neighboring Livingston Parish set to begin July 10, but authorities there say they are looking to dismiss those charges without prejudice. That move leaves open the possibility of refiling them in the future, should Hayden’s Baton Rouge convictions be overturned on appeal, The Advocate said.
One such charge from the Livingston Parish case involves an allegation of aggravated incest by Hayden’s daughter, with whom he worked at the family’s gun shop, Red Jacket Firearms, and who was a co-star on the Discovery Channel’s “Sons of Guns” reality program.
Discovery quickly canceled the series in 2014 after sexual-assault allegations first surfaced, The Advocate said.
The program, while listed and archived on Amazon Video, is unavailable for streaming or download, apparently at the request of the content provider, although copies of the second season, available from a third-party vendor, appear to be available for purchase on DVD.
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