Jury Finds Casper Man Who Killed Father Guilty of Second-Degree Murder
A Casper man accused of fatally shooting his father was found guilty of second-degree murder in Natrona County District Court on Wednesday.
Vincent Daniel Hayes heard the verdict from the 12-person jury at the end of a two-and-a-half day trial presided over by Judge Catherine Wilking. The jury deliberated for almost three hours.
Hayes, born in 1983, had his bond revoked and was taken into custody.
Wilking ordered a pre-sentence investigation. She did not set a sentencing date.
Conviction of second-degree murder is punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment.
The case began on the night of Nov. 11-12, 2021, when Hayes killed William Johnson at his home, according to court documents.
Hayes underwent a mental health evaluation to determine whether he would be competent to stand trial.
So the Natrona County District Attorney's Office decided to prosecute him on one count of second-degree murder.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Johnson's widow said that they had moved from Mead, Colorado, to Casper in 2020, and Hayes moved in with them in October 2021.
A decade earlier, she said their daughter Elizabeth had sexually transitioned to their new son Vincent Hayes, and he was later diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.
One of his personalities was named Reno. The evening of the shooting, "Reno" and Johnson began arguing over lifestyle choices.
At some point, Hayes and Johnson retrieved handguns and waved them at each other.
Johnson sat down in a recliner and said something Hayes didn't like, so Hayes shot his father (Johnson) several times, according to the affidavit.
According to court documents, Hayes told police that "Reno shot (Johnson)." Shortly before the shooting, Hayes told police he heard Johnson say, "It would be better if I just killed Reno" before hearing his father load a handgun.
Court documents state Hayes told police that under the control of "Reno," he fired his handgun several times at Johnson and several rounds struck his father.