Woman convicted of kidnap-murder of lover's wife in occult-tinged case
Sep. 27, 1997
VENTURA, Calif. (AP) _ A witchcraft-practicing grocery clerk was found guilty Friday of killing her lover's wife, an act described by the prosecution as a human sacrifice birthday gift to her lover.
Diana Haun, 36, was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping, and a special circumstance of murder for financial gain. The jury will decide whether to recommend the death sentence or life in prison.
Ms. Haun's lover, Michael Dally, awaits trial on the same charges.
Sherri Dally, 35, a homemaker and day-care operator, was abducted from a store parking lot May 6, 1996. Her remains were found 26 days later in a ravine. She had been stabbed and beheaded.
Prosecutors said Ms. Haun was a follower of occult practices who killed Mrs. Dally as a gift to Dally. They also said the two plotted the killing so Dally could avoid a costly divorce.
The defense insisted Ms. Haun was Dally's dupe and had no idea of his plan to kill his wife. They contended that someone else killed Mrs. Dally but didn't say who.
Witnesses described a woman in a tan outfit encountering Mrs. Dally in a parking lot and leading her in handcuffs to a car.
Prosecutors said Ms. Haun, who once aspired to be a model and took acting classes, used those skills to disguise herself as a policewoman to abduct Mrs. Dally.
During deliberations, the jury asked to re-examine a car rented by Ms. Haun that prosecutors say was used in the crime. DNA testing showed that blood soaked in the floor, ceiling and rear seat was Mrs. Dally's.