A Beauregard Parish man convicted of killing his stepmother and his young adult stepbrother in an alleged act of revenge against his father could be eligible for parole in the near future after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied to hear arguments on the Third Circuit’s reversal of the man’s life sentence.
Aaron George Hauser, now 54, was serving a life sentence for the 1983 murders of Joan Hauser and her 17-year-old son, John Leidig.
Hauser, who was also 17 years old at the time, pleaded guilty in April 1984 to secretly entering the home of his father and stepmother and then shooting Hauser and her son with a high-powered rifle as they slept in their beds.
He was convicted on two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without benefit of parole.
Last year, the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights appealed Hauser’s sentence to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, citing a controversial 2016 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that any juvenile convicted of murder must not be subjected to a mandatory life sentence, and must be afforded a new hearing and potential for release.
In accordance with the 2016 ruling, Hauser was given a new hearing before 36th Judicial District Court Judge C. Kerry Anderson in 2018, who ruled to uphold the life sentence in place.
According to court documents filed in Beauregard Parish, Hauser’s case was considered especially heinous by the state because of the premeditation put forth by Hauser in his planning of the murders.
Court documents show that the Beauregard Parish District Attorney’s Office argued that Hauser felt slighted by his father in the years after the divorce of his biological parents and by his father’s second marriage, and that Hauser committed the crimes in an attempt to cause emotional harm to his father.
Those documents showed that Hauser purchased the guns to be used in the crime days beforehand, and planned to commit the crime during a time when his mother was out of town.
Upon enlisting the help of an acquaintance, who testified Hauser had told him the two were going to commit property crimes at the residence, Hauser traveled from his mother’s home in Kerrville, Texas to his father’s residence and then waited for his father to leave the home to tend to the family’s farm.
Hauser snuck into the home while his acqaintance waited outside to serve as a “lookout.’ and upon hearing the gunshots the acquaintance fled the scene to a neighbor’s home where he called local authorities.
In its arguments to the Third Circuit Court, the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights argued that Hauser had shown reform during his time of incarceration, and provided documentation that showed Hauser had an “unblemished” record during his time in prison. The advocacy group also provided testimony from Hauser himself who blamed his inability to properly manage his emotional discord at the time of the murders along with a lack of maturity.
In a 45-page opinion released by the Third Circuit Court on Dec. 30, 2019, the appellate court reversed Judge Anderson’s ruling that denied Hauser the opportunity for parole.
With the state Supreme Court now refusing to hear arguments from the Beauregard Parish District Attorney’s Office in regards to the sentence reversal, District Attorney James Lestage’s office has 90 days to file for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.