Grand jury indicts former 'Sons of Guns' star William Hayden in rapes of two victims

Former “Sons of Guns” reality TV star Will Hayden was charged Wednesday by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury with raping two preteen girls — one recently and another more than 20 years ago.

The indictment followed similar allegations from Livingston Parish that led a grand jury there in early November to charge Hayden, 49, with raping in 2013 the same girl he’s accused of molesting recently in Baton Rouge.

The Livingston Parish grand jury also charged him with sex crimes against his oldest daughter and former “Sons of Guns” co-star, Stephanie Hayden Ford, who in September went on the “Dr. Phil” show to talk about the incident she said occurred about 20 years ago.

Ford said on the show that her father walked into her bedroom one night while drunk many years ago and began pinching and kissing her while trying to disrobe her. Ford said she escaped and he never touched her inappropriately again.

Attempts on Wednesday to reach Hayden’s attorney, C. Frank Holthaus, were unsuccessful.

In all, Hayden has been charged with three counts of aggravated rape — two in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Livingston Parish.

In East Baton Rouge, Hayden is accused of raping a girl beginning not long after her 11th birthday in March 2013 until August of this year. He also is accused of raping her on Aug. 4, when the girl was 12. In Livingston, Hayden is accused of raping the same girl in March 2013.

In addition, following Hayden’s first in a series of arrests in early August, another woman — besides Ford — came forward, claiming Hayden molested her in the 1990s.

The allegation resulted in a charge of forcible rape against Hayden in East Baton Rouge. The woman, who is now in her 30s, told authorities that Hayden raped her when she was 12 years old. She told detectives with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office that she didn’t come forward initially because she didn’t think her family would believe her.

The woman told detectives that, at the time of the rape, she was staying with Hayden’s family because her house burned down.

By law, an aggravated rape conviction in Louisiana carries a mandatory life sentence. A forcible rape conviction carries a sentence of 5 to 40 years.

Prior to his arrests, Hayden owned Red Jacket Firearms, a Baton Rouge custom gun shop just north of Florida Boulevard on Mammoth Avenue. The shop and the people who worked there, most notably Hayden, were the center of “Sons of Guns,” a Discovery Channel show that spanned several seasons.

During Hayden’s recent run-ins with the law, the show was abruptly canceled. Red Jacket Firearms also cut ties with Hayden.

Hayden has spent most of his time since late August incarcerated at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. His bail is set at $350,000. He left briefly to be processed into the Livingston Parish Detention Center in September. His bail there was set at $125,000.

The case in East Baton Rouge Parish is assigned to state District Judge Mike Erwin.

Advocate staff writer Joe Gyan contributed to this report.

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