January 15, 2013

Hayden guilty of double murder

Up against testimony from his young son, jurors quickly convict Joel Hayden of killing his friend and girlfriend.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Joel Hayden listens to the jury announce the verdict during his murder trial in the Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court in Portland on Monday afternoon January 14, 2013. Hayden was found guilty of killing Renee Sandora, the mother of his four children, and his longtime friend Trevor Mills.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

Renee Sandora

Additional Photos Below

Strike said in his closing argument that blood and urine samples taken from Hayden after his arrest showed that he had marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system.

Strike said Hayden may have been "feelings the effects of these drugs from 3 p.m." on the day of the murders until his arrest around 9 p.m., after a high-speed chase ended with Hayden crashing in York County.

"There is no doubt that Mr. Hayden had a significant amount of drugs in his system," Strike said.

His argument came after Justice Nancy Mills gave the jury specific instructions about the charges against Hayden -- two counts of murder -- and a legal definition of intoxication.

The jury could have found Hayden guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter if it had found that Hayden was too intoxicated to form the intent required as a legal element of murder.

Outside the courthouse, reporters asked Strike if he was disappointed that the jury reached its verdict after just an hour and quarter of deliberation.

"We were disappointed, yes. But were we surprised by the length of the deliberation? No," Strike said.

Strike said he expects to appeal the conviction but will leave that decision to Hayden.

"You cannot bring an appeal until sentencing has been imposed, and that probably won't happen until the first week of February," he said.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Mark Gerber, Renee Sandora's step-father, hugs Wanda Estes, Sandora's aunt, after Joel Hayden was found guilty of killing Sandora, the mother of his four children, and his longtime friend Trevor Mills in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Monday afternoon January 14, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer


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