A hearing was held yesterday in DeRidder to determine whether a man, sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, should be eligible for parole.
Aaron Hauser, 52, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1983 murder of his stepmother, Joan Hauser, and his 17-year-old step brother, John J. Leidig, at their farmhouse near DeRidder.
At the time, Hauser pleaded guilty to avoid facing the death penalty.
Hauser’s hearing yesterday was heard by Judge Kerry Anderson at the Beauregard Parish Courthouse.
The question of whether Hauser should continue to serve his life sentence without parole or become eligible for parole in the future is the result of recent changes to the law.
The Louisiana Supreme Court recently passed a set of legislation that would allow “lifers,” who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, to potentially receive parole privileges pending an official hearing.
Family and friends of both Hauser and the victims attended the hearing. Several testimonies were given by individuals who knew Hauser and his victims at the time of the crime.
The hearing, open to the public, was populated by a crowd made up of drastically opposing views about what the court should do with Hauser.
“There are a lot of emotions from both sides,” Anderson said. “I can’t imagine what those on either side are going through.”
In order to avoid a hostile situation at the conclusion of the hearing,
Anderson had groups with differing opinions leave the courtroom at separate times.
Anderson has not reached a decision, but he did grant Hauser’s attorney time and funding to obtain an expert to evaluate Hauser’s psychological state.
Hauser’s next public hearing will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on July 6 at the Beauregard Parish Courthouse in DeRidder. For the time being, Hauser is scheduled to return to Louisiana State Penitentiary.