Sherri Dally was abducted outside a Target store in Ventura County, California on May 6, 1996, and her remains were found almost a month later by the side of a road north of Ventura. The 35-year-old daycare provider had been stabbed, beaten and nearly beheaded, authorities said. The case is finding itself in the news once again thanks to an episode on NBC’s Dateline on March 12, 2021.
Authorities charged Diana Haun, the mistress of Sherri Dally’s husband Michael Dally, with the kidnapping and murder but several months later also charged Michael Dally who they said orchestrated the crime. He was charged with murder, conspiracy and kidnapping, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1997.
Dally denied his involvement in the crime but faced a jury trial and was found guilty of both crimes in 1998, the Ventura County Star reported in 2018. Where is Michael Dally today?
Dally Was Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole & Is in the California State Prison in Los Angeles County
Dally was sentenced to life in prison after a two-month trial in 1998, just a few months after Haun also received the same sentence in her own trial. Despite Dally being tied to the crime with only circumstantial evidence, the jury found him guilty of plotting the murder. The court heard that only 90 minutes after calling the police to file a missing persons’ report for his wife, Dally told a friend that Sherri Dally had been “snatched,” the Ventura County Star reported.
During his trial, Dally’s own defense attorney said his client was “not a good person” but that did not make him a murderer. According to the Ventura County Star, Michael Dally’s defense attorney, James Farley said, “He is not a good person. … just because he frequents prostitutes, just because he smoked rock cocaine, just because he did not treat his wife the way she ought to be treated — that does not make him a murderer.”
Dally, now 60, is serving his life sentence in California State Prison in Los Angeles County where he was admitted in June 1998, public records show. Both minimum and maximum-security male inmates are housed in the institution and as of February 2021, records show it housed over 2,000 inmates.
Dally Appealed His Sentence in the Early 2000s But It Was Denied & Appealed for Clemency in 2018
In 2018, Dally appealed to the then-governor of California Jerry Brown for clemency, the Ventura County Star reported. It said the reasons provided in the appeal were not provided publicly but it was not Dally’s first attempt to get his case reviewed. The outlet reported that Dally’s attorneys filed petitions with the 2nd District Court of Appeal and state Supreme Court to review his sentence in the early 2000s but those requests were denied.
During one of his appeal rulings, the state 2nd District Court of Appeal in Ventura ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Dally abducted and killed his wife and dismissed claims by Dally’s attorney that the jury should not have been allowed to hear evidence on his cocaine use and other affairs, the LA Times reported. Prosecutors said, “We’re pleased with the decision. It was a horrific crime.”
Sherri Dally’s mother Karlyne Guess told the Ventura County Star, “I don’t care, personally, what kind of good behavior or anything he did in prison that would make up for murdering our daughter, the mother of his children.” Brown’s gubernatorial term ended in 2019 and Dally was not granted clemency before that time.