When you search about Red Jacket Firearms, it is impossible not to get to know about Will Hayden because he is deeply connected to it as he was the shop owner.
One of the relevant pieces of information you will know about Will Hayden is that he had a life that ought to be one of the most inspiring stories of being a dream fighter and achiever – but in the end, he only brought shame and downfall.
At first, Hayden draws people’s attention and interest by doing what he loves. He was a fantastic gunsmith and custom gun designer. With his talent and skills, he made it possible to own a gun shop. Initially, Hayden named his shop Red Jacket but later on, he changed it to Red Jacket Firearms. Also, luck seemed to be on his side because he received an opportunity to be a star on a reality TV show; the series is called Sons of Guns, and later rose to fame.
Sounds like a cool man with a great life, right? But, here’s the question, what happened to Hayden? How did a prosperous gunsmith and gun shop owner be the reason why his shop was ruined? Well, it turned out that Will Hayden was a dangerous and terrible man. From a popular television personality, he crashed down as a life-sentence convict.
I know that you are curious about the details but before knowing how Hayden ended up sentenced to life in prison, let’s take a few years back to Will Hayden’s life.
Let’s dig deeper into how he managed to start his every accomplishment.
Will Hayden & Red Jacket Firearms Beginning
Will Hayden was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Even in his younger years, Hayden already has a tremendous interest in firearms. He was deeply involved with it. Thus, he spent his time learning weapons and warfare. Yet, his first business was not about firearms. Initially, he was a refrigeration and construction business owner and only worked in a gun business on the side. But being an enormous firearm enthusiast pushed him to sell his primary businesses to pursue his passion and spend his time doing what he loves. Thus, in 1999, he gambled with his talent to follow his desire to design and build firearm equipment.
Moreover, since Hayden was already learning and building firearms since he was 12 years old, and he also served in the Marines for six years and even ranked as a sergeant, it is safe to say he had gained many experiences. Additionally, Hayden has a natural talent for being a gunsmith. Thus, it is not surprising that he became known. Later on, he started the Red Jacket shop, and he worked hard to manage it.
Unfortunately, before everyone can even hear the Red Jacket’s success, Will Hayden suffered from many different challenges along the way that almost made him give up. People almost lost the chance to see the Red Jacket Firearms shop service since Hayden suffered from robbed consequences and even debt. However, he worked hard to restore what he lost. With his will and determination, he started the Red Jacket Firearms shop.
Later on, Will Hayden brings his daughter, Stephanie, to help him manage his shop. They made sure that Red Jacket Firearms will not only be known as a firearm trading shop. Will emphasizes that manufacturing weapons is what Red Jacket Firearms specializes in. His goal was focused on creating the Red Jacket Firearms fame as a unique firearm shop.
As Hayden consistently worked hard for his shop, the Red Jacket Firearms started to receive attention. Thus, he began to have clients. Since Hayden is one talented and credible gunsmith, he made regular customers who love to own customized weapons for Red Jacket Firearms. He has created and provided weapons to various customers. His regular customers include private collectors and even police and military members. Also, Hayden made, sold, and restored requested firearms, such as shotgun weapons, historical weaponry, and internal gun silencers.
Moreover, Hayden had continued to enjoy building and designing firearms and find it challenging and exciting to produce requested customized products. The Red Jacket Firearms shop came steady and continues to serve its clients.
Then, a few years after opening his weapon shop, Hayden was noticed by Hollywood. They were able to uncover Hayden’s talent because of his self-uploaded video on YouTube. Hayden’s video showcased his skills in his impressive range noontime session with his favorite guns. It only took him one amazing video to create another milestone in his life. Out of Red Jacket Firearms’ success, the reality TV show Sons of Guns started airing, capturing the interest of many viewers and gun enthusiasts.
Eventually, Hayden’s life and business continuously receive all the good results from the hard-working years they experienced.
Sons of Guns – Hayden’s Reality TV Show
Will Hayden accepted the offer and started his reality TV show Sons of Guns. The series aired on Discovery Channel and featured the Red Jacket Firearms shop and the weapon modifications and fabrications.
During this period, Sons of Guns opened many opportunities for Hayden and his Red Jacket Firearms employees. Also, the TV program became a hit since it was unique yet exciting. The TV show’s concept and content are about weapons modification. Mostly, Hayden was the one who is demonstrating the proper and safe gun fabrications after the introductory reminders for the viewers not to try anything he will perform on his TV show.
Every episode was about a client’s modification or restoration request. And then it ends up with the weapon testing of the finished product at the shooting range. There were also times that they tested the weapon at a training ground, with the presence of their client.
Quickly, the show appeals to many viewers because Hayden performed the weapon demonstration, looking very easy. He seemed to be an effortless gunsmith in front of the television. He is proving his fantastic talent and knowledge about firearms in the show. Fortunately for the cast, the Sons of Guns is going well. Hayden received the people’s attention, and his efforts paid off that. You can compare his hard work to a victorious battle triumph as he encountered difficulties on his way to fame.
Firearm Modifications – Hayden’s key to attracting people’s interest
Will Hayden could entice his audience to keep track of his show and shop because of his specialty in creating firearm modifications. The concept is appealing since many firearm enthusiasts are open to developing customized weapons that can match them. Other than personalizing the firearms, there were other various reasons why some weapon owners request a modification. Some reasons were for firearm performance enhancement, or the owner wants to add complexity to the weapon.
However, because guns already have their mechanism, it might be risky to personalize the weapons. There can be a danger if the gun owner and the gunsmith will not plan the firearm modification properly. That’s why the Sons of Guns show starts with safety reminders that all of the firearm’s modification or fabrication performed in the shop and shooting range should not be done at home, especially if there is no adequate knowledge about weapons. Proper care of the weapons and following the strict safety guidelines are some of the basic rules on firearms modifications. The legality of the process also varies from location to location since some areas may be implementing stricter laws.
Red Jacket Firearms’ Team
Hayden has a couple of employees working on Red Jacket Firearms who also participated in the Sons of Guns show and contributed to its concept and content. Here is the list of Red Jacket employees that supported Will Hayden throughout the TV series.
· Stephanie Hayden – Red Jacket Firearms Co-owner; Will Hayden’s daughter.
· Joe Meaux – Red Jacket Firearms Chief Operations Officer; he is also a gunsmith, a machine tool, and a webmaster.
· Christopher Ford (Kris Ford) – The shop production manager and a gunsmith who started working at Red Jacket Firearms as an apprentice. He is also Stephanie Hayden’s husband.
· Charlie Watson – Red Jacket Firearms marketing manager; Forensic firearms expert and a gunsmith.
· Vince Buckles – The former Red Jacket Firearms manager and head gunsmith. Although he resigned after Sons of Guns season 2, he hugely contributed to Red Jacket Firearms’ success.
· Glenn “Flem” Flemming – He is another former employee who is a welder and gunsmith in the shop.
In Sons of Guns, Hayden and his team tested their made weapons. Together with his team, Hayden worked on different projects to give their customers satisfying customized guns or successfully restored weapons. They also provided weapon consultation. Overall, the show’s concept is a must-watch series. It is a series to look forward to; whether their weapon failed or succeeded – it is worth watching for its viewers because the thrill of weapons testing captured their attention.
Sons of Guns Notable Moments
Even from the start of Sons of Guns’ first episodes, the Red Jacket Firearms employees built an exciting impression on the viewers with their “shoot and see what happens” concept. The show also aired their moment of firing Civil War cannons and grenades, which helped convince viewers to always keep track of the Red Jacket Firearms and Sons of Guns show.
Later on, as the TV show progressed, there were many Sons of Guns standout and notable moments. Out of the show’s five seasons, the show’s cast had several exciting moments. The memorable one includes creating something bizarre, restoring and building rare weapons, or partnering with their client to develop requested firearms with a specific concept.
Also, some special guests visited the show, such as WWII veteran Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams. Williams asked Hayden and his team to help him restore an old flamethrower; a weapon used in war. The project was considered risky that’s why it became part of the notable Sons of Guns moments.
Another exemplary guest of the show was the Zombie expert and Bestselling author, Max Brooks. Brooks visited the Red Jacket Firearms to join forces with the team. He also brainstorms great ideas on how to build the ultimate zombie gun. The episode showcased a great battle between Hayden and Brooks, who challenged each other to create the best zombie-killing weapon. Weapon performance determines the victor through a nighttime Zombie apocalypse shoutout. The episode’s unique theme gathered viewers and became part of the Sons of Guns’ well-known event.
Hayden’s Legal Issues Involvement
Although Sons of Guns showed a unique concept for its audiences, it was not as smooth as it was likely to be. The show stirred up attention with negative news involving the show production and Hayden.
ATF Law Violations
In 2009, Hayden got involved in a problem during the routine inspection made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). During the ATF check, it was revealed the ten registered firearms parts under Red Jacket Firearms were missing and unaccounted for, which was a major violation for a gun business. The incident resulted in gun-making license suspension for Will and Stephanie Hayden. Since Will and Stephanie surrendered their license, Vincent Buckles took control of the firearms company. The decision was part of the ATF’s compromise agreement to keep the Red Jacket Firearms business operation.
Dallas Fort Worth airport incident
It wasn’t long after the ATF issue, and Sons of Guns was recently airing when Hayden got involved in another problem. It was in September of 2011 when the Dallas Fort Worth airport incident happened. The Sons of Guns production committed a minor incident of leaving their rental truck full of firearms and weapons unattended. Since it was very risky to leave such dangerous things behind, the FBI investigated and closed some parts of the airport in Terminal B. The investigation lasted for several hours. After research, the FBI found no wrongdoing. Fortunately, no one was harmed during the incident.
Later on, the company executive issued an apology and concluded the incident as a Sons of Guns staff’s simple yet immense error in their judgment.
Although there were incidents involving Hayden and his shop, it was settled later on. But no one expected that horrifying and unforgivable crimes would soon get back and crash down Will Hayden.
The Fall of Will Hayden
Will Hayden’s life turned out to have ups and downs – however, he went down to his lowest when he was arrested for his devastating crimes. Indeed, with his crimes, Hayden was not the only person who suffered, but he was also the one responsible and the reason for Red Jacket Firearms downfall.
Will Hayden’s crimes revealed
It was August of 2014 when East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s department arrested Will Hayden on the charges of child molestation and aggravated crimes against nature. Hayden defended himself against the accusations. He claimed that the allegations were false and it was a vengeful act of an ex-girlfriend, the 12-year-old victim’s mother. However, afterward, Hayden was still charged with the rape of a child grounded on the victim’s statements. Additional charges were added to Will Hayden. The victim who charges him was his youngest daughter. She suffered terribly not only with the abuse but also from Hayden’s threatened violence.
Moreover, many consequences came after Hayden’s criminal charges came to light. The charges were too graved and can ruin the show along with everyone. Thus, the show was cut short, ending its fifth season on August 27, 2014. The Sons of Guns cancellation was one of the enormous negative results of the charges. Also, Hayden lost his control of his Red Jacket Firearms shop, but still instilled disgrace to his shop.
At first, Stephanie initially defended her father, but later on, she changed her words and came forward that she was also her father’s victim because her father molested her as a child. Thus, Will Hayden has lost custody of his youngest daughter for good.
Eventually, more women went to accuse Hayden of unwanted sexual advances and rape. It was then revealed that Hayden is a pedophile who victimized young girls. His victim suffered unmeasured cruelty from his hands. Not long after, the public heard the news about Hayden’s severe criminal accusations. Hayden’s everything started to collapse and be destroyed.
On the other hand, apart from Will Hayden’s charge, Stephanie and her husband Kris also faced charges. In November 2014, both were arrested on child abuse charges and for assault on a minor. Their victim was then the 9-year-old son of Stephanie from her previous relationship. According to the report, the child’s father noticed a large bruise on his son’s side. It was allegedly the wound resulting from Kris, who struck the kid with a belt. Perhaps, both parties solved the charges on a silent agreement between them. Then, the charges were eventually dropped.
Unveiling Hayden’s dirty dealings
Aside from Hayden’s rape charges, people unveiled that he committed many more criminal acts. He was then discovered that he got his hands dirty when he entered the illegal and secret licensing agreement. Hayden partnered with a prohibited contract with a Texas-based car dealership, and worst, he traded using the Red Jacket’s name, and he was secretly earning money for himself.
Additionally, Hayden was also exposed to pocketing tens of thousands of dollars worth of funds. He was taking the money from a business charge account that he is reportedly saving for to start his side business, Red Jacket Muzzleloading, which he planned to start up with himself as the sole owner. His plan backfired against him, and he later received his business partners’ breach of contract lawsuit.
Finally, Hayden was punished and ordered by a state judge to pay a hefty reimbursement sum of $130,000 to his former business partners as payment for the damages and penalties.
The Trial of Will Hayden
There were several charges against Will Hayden, and it charges were the following:
· Two counts of aggravated rape against a young girl in East Baton Rouge Parish.
· A count of forcible rape Hayden committed against a woman he raped 20 years prior; the charge is also in East Baton Rouge Parish.
· Charges for aggravated rape and incest in Livingston Parish.
Will Hayden’s first trial was in January 2015, and he pleaded not guilty to all the charges pointed against him. In August 2015, his three private lawyers left him for an undisclosed reason. The judge relieved the lawyers upon their request and said to have no bad feelings between them and Hayden. Soon after, Hayden was represented by a public defender.
The trial doesn’t come to favor Hayden’s side because, in April 2017, he was unanimously found guilty of all his charges. Hayden was convicted of the crimes of one count of forcible rape and two counts of aggravated rape of his two victims for the course of two decades.
On May 11, 2017, Hayden was finally sentenced to two life sentences for aggravated rape plus 40 years in prison. He was also to spend all his life in prison and is not eligible for any probation, or suspension of sentence, and parole.
Will Hayden pleaded no contest to the charges against him on July 12, 2017. He was sentenced to a third life sentence for rape by Livingston Parish, Louisiana Judge Robert Morrison. He has now been punished to three life sentences plus 40 years in prison and was transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
In the end, the show Sons of Guns is hit by the direct result of Hayden’s sentences. Bad news for its viewers, Disney Channel effectively froze any additional distribution of the series on any online platforms for the obvious reason that Hayden negatively tainted the show’s reputation. Thus, there is a high possibility that the reruns of the show will no longer air.
The End Result of Red Jacket Firearms Tragic Fall Story
For Will Hayden, his trial result already decided his fate of not seeing his shop for a long time or ever again. It was ironic that the man who built the Red Jacket Firearms out of hard work was also the reason for its downfall.
Truly, Hayden has no other people to blame but himself. He destroyed his young victims and left them with trauma, pain, and fear. Hayden wasted his talent and knowledge he can use to lead a better life. He lost the opportunities he had. He had traded his life and committed bad things by himself, so it is just right that he was punished for all his wrongdoings.
Moreover, the only comfort his victims have is that Hayden will never have another victim because he can never see the outside of the prison walls again. He will stay behind bars. But there are still unanswered concerns like what happened to the Red Jacket Firearms shop?
Red Jacket Firearms has fallen and closed. The brand was so damaged that the former business partner of Hayden, Joe Meaux, failed to save it from its downfall. Will Hayden’s fallout was severely damaging. Even if Hayden was not yet sentenced, the shop already suffered damages, and people lost interest in it as it is connected to Hayden’s bad image. Unfortunately, that’s why the Red Jacket Firearms business operation is put down for good.
Moreover, after closing the shop, Meaux moved on and decided to open his two new ventures. Meaux’s new businesses are named Meaux Guns and Aklys Defense and are based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Furthermore, with Hayden being out of the picture, the Sons of Guns cast started a new life. Stephanie and her husband, Kris Ford, focused their attention on their other businesses. They joined Kris’ father to operate a gun store named Ford Guns; they also managed an airsoft range called IAC Wargames. For Glenn Fleming, he started his YouTube channel called The Gunners Vault and spent his time creating and producing content for the YouTube channel.
Most of the Red Jacket Firearms employees are now out in the spotlight. They are living away from the saddening memories and events of the past. The reality TV show that once helped them reach fame was now left behind and buried.
At some point, the story of Red Jacket Firearms could have been an inspiration to the dreamers, that even if there are problems, working hard for something will eventually give a result. Hayden’s story could have encouraged someone to believe in and pursue his passion and talent. However, when Hayden’s crimes were discovered, people realized that they should not idolize him. He disgraced the Red Jacket Firearms and his TV show. Although he had talent and creativity, people did not overlook his grave crimes. Later on, many turned their back against him because of the monstrous acts he committed.
Thus, you can learn from Hayden’s story that serious crimes against people can cost them their life and dreams. Even though a lot of time passed, there will always be a way to find justice, and in Will Hayden’s story, it was the courage of his victims that gave way to find the justice they deserved finally.
Fortunately, Hayden’s victims gathered the courage and determination to seek justice. They saved other women that could fall into Hayden’s wicked hands. It was their bravery that put an end to his criminal acts.
There are no more things to say about Red Jacket Firearms and Will Hayden. What only matters now is that Hayden’s punishment gave hope to all the victims that they would never hear anything about him anymore. After the painful and traumatic experience from Hayden, we can only wish that they will eventually heal from the past traumas. Also, we hope for them to live the happy and safe life they deserve.
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