Sherri Dally was 35 years old when she was kidnapped outside a Target store in Ventura County, California on May 6, 1996. Her body was found nearly a month later and authorities focused their investigation on Diana Haun, the mistress of Dally’s husband. NBC’s Dateline is exploring the case of Dally’s disappearance and murder in an episode on March 12, 2021.
Several days after Dally’s disappearance, Haun was arrested in connection with it but she was released a short time later with no charges filed, the Los Angeles Times wrote.
On June 1, 1996, Dally’s remains were found in a ravine beside a road north of Ventura and officials determined that she had been beaten and stabbed to death, at which point Haun became the focus of the investigation once again. She was arrested a second time on August 1, 1996, and was indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder and kidnapping. Several months later, Dally’s husband Michael Dally was also arrested and charged and both he and his mistress pleaded not guilty.
Where is Diana Haun today?
Haun Was Found Guilty of Dally’s Murder & Was Sentenced to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole
Haun was found guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping and murder in Dally’s death on September 26, 1997. A month later, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Los Angeles Times reported. Prosecutors successfully argued that Haun lured Dally into her vehicle, handcuffed her and then murdered the 35-year-old mother of two.
During her trial, prosecutors showed that Haun rented a car for the abduction and DNA evidence found that Dally’s blood was on the floor, ceiling and backseat of the vehicle. One of Haun’s coworkers also testified that the woman told her she was planning a human sacrifice for Michael Dally’s birthday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Haun, now 59, is serving her life sentence at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, where she was admitted in December 1997, public records show. It is the largest female institution in California.
She Appealed the Guilty Verdict & Said the Jury Was Unfairly Prejudiced Because of Some of the Evidence That Was Allowed
Haun appealed the guilty verdict and argued that the jury was unfairly prejudiced toward her because they heard about a previous affair she’d had with another married man and they were also told about her interest in witchcraft. In late 2000, the appellate court rejected the appeal and said there was sufficient proof that Haun committed the kidnap and murder, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In their ruling, the justices said, “The trial court minimized the prejudice to Haun by excluding the more inflammatory details,” such as testimony that Haun had admitted to drinking human blood or that when she messaged her lover she would use the numbers 666.
Haun was also sued by Dally’s two sons and the court awarded them $6.4 million, the Los Angeles Times reported, although since Haun already had debts for her legal battles, it’s unclear if Dally’s sons have seen any of the money awarded to them.