William Michale "Will" Hayden (born June 24, 1965) is an American gunsmith, convicted rapist, television personality, and former U.S. Marine and gun shop owner. He is best known as the star of the 2011–2014 Discovery Channel reality series Sons of Guns.
Hayden also survived a large house fire as a "three or four year old" child. He stated in a 2011 interview that he remembers, "waking up to fire 'eating me up'... burning the bed... the sheets... the room". Hayden also stated that he was abused by his father in a piece titled Sons of Guns: Straight-Shootin’ Stories from the Star of the Hit Discovery Series. He says in the article, "Hell, he put me through a wall with a punch when I was five... From that moment on I realized I had to pick my battles carefully. Very carefully. Any battle I could get up and walk away from was a victory. It didn’t matter if me or my psyche looked or felt like it’d been run through a meat grinder. Victory is victory."
After returning home from the service, Hayden started his own construction and refrigeration business, while working on guns on the side.
His side business began to take off, and in 1999, he sold his main business and officially opened Red Jacket Firearms. The name of the company is the translation of his mother's name, Osguma, which means "red jacket" in Choctaw. The firm's first commercial order was from a large distributor called Manotick Firearms for twenty rifles.
From 2011 until 2014, Hayden received nationwide fame when Sons of Guns - a reality TV program focusing on the specialized firearm builds at Red Jacket - aired on Discovery Channel. On August 26, 2014, it was announced that Red Jacket Firearms had received a legal separation as an entity from Hayden.
Hayden's daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Kris Ford also appeared on the show as well as working at Red Jacket.
Juvenile rape conviction
On August 11, 2014, Hayden was arrested and charged with molestation of a juvenile and aggravated crimes against nature. Hayden said that the allegations are false and were made in retaliation by a vengeful ex-girlfriend, the 12-year-old girl's mother. He was subsequently charged with rape of a child based on the alleged statements of the victim.
The charges led to the cancellation of Sons of Guns. Hayden was additionally accused of aggravated rape by his oldest daughter Stephanie Ford who is 34. Ford, a co-star, told police that she was raped 22 years ago when she was 12 by her father Hayden. Stephanie Ford came forward after her 12-year-old sister made allegations against Hayden. Ford also told police that she told her husband four years prior that she was raped. As a result of this last charge, his bail was raised from $200,000 to $350,000. Having pleaded not guilty in January 2015, he awaited trial. In August 2015 the judge relieved Hayden's three private lawyers from the case per the lawyers request. The lawyers said that confidential conditions for their representation hadn't been met, but that there was "no bitterness" between them and Hayden. Hayden was represented by a public defender at a later court date.
On April 7, 2017 Hayden was convicted of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. The aggravated rape conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. He goes on trial relating to separate rape allegations in July in Livingston Parish.