AA Sponsor Killed by Relapsing Sponsee

By Jeff Forester 09/30/11

Beloved AA regular in Kentucky was killed during a brutal fight with  drunk sponsee.

Charged: Leslie and Robert Haun Photo via

A long-time AA regular was beaten to death this week in Covington, Kentucky, allegedly by one of the people he sponsored. On September 19, 54-year-old Shain Pierce returned to his apartment from the hospital where he'd just had a toe amputated following a work-related injury. Much to his surprise, he found his sponsee, Leslie Haun and Haun's son, Robert, drinking inside his home. He threw them out, and the pair then attended an AA meeting while drunk. But they returned to Pierce's apartment after the meeting, where Pierce called Haun Sr. a "punk." According to police reports, Leslie Haun then attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat. Robert Haun told cops that he and his father thought Pierce was dead, but that he started making a noise—so Leslie Haun finished him off with a table leg. Robert Haun disposed of both the murder weapons in a nearby sewer—following his father's orders, he said. Leslie Haun, 47, who is being charged with murder but continues to deny any involvement in the crime, is currently being held on a $500,000 bond. His son, 19, is charged with evidence tampering and is being held on $100,000 bond. Huan Sr. has a long criminal record and has been diagnosed with numerous mental health problems including anti-social disorder, depression, hallucinations and schizophrenia. He had been kicked out of the Droege House rehab facility in Dayton in August. Shain Pierce had previously served time for burglary, but was working at a metal recycling facility before his death and had long been involved with AA. Even though he wasn't an alcoholic himself, he viewed his service in the organization as a way to help others. Fellow members claimed he sponsored many people and even let them stay with him when they needed to. "He went there for friends and to see who he could help," said his sister, Tammy Callen. "He took in I don't know how many people."

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Jeff Forester is a writer in Minnesota. His book, Forest for the Trees: How Humans Shaped the North Woods, an ecological history of his state's famed Boundary Waters, came out in paperback in 2009. Jeff is the Executive Director of MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates MLR and you can follow him on Twitter.