Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash
Sherri Guess and Michael Dally started dating in high school. By all accounts, Michael had not only won over Sherri, but also her family. The couple married in 1982 and were seemingly happy.
Michael found work at a Vons grocery store in Oxnard, and Sherri gave birth to their two sons and worked as a day care provider. But Michael was not exactly as he appeared on the outside.
In fact, Michael had apparently been having multiple affairs and was using cocaine regularly. By 1996, Michael appeared willing to do almost anything to get out of the marriage. He even had his own apartment with Diana.
The Third Wheel
While working as a deli clerk at Vons, Michael met Diana Haun, another grocery store employee. The two had a lot in common. Both had mothers from Japan and fathers who?d been in the military. Michael and Diana started an affair that was not even a little bit discreet. The two even went on vacation to Mexico. Clearly, they had no intentions of hiding their relationship.
On May 6th, 1996, Sherri drove to a Ventura Target to shop for a Mother?s Day gift. While in the parking lot, Sherri was confronted by a woman in a blonde wig and tan pantsuit, apparently claiming to be a security guard. She handcuffed Sherri and forced her into a Nissan Altima. All the while, Sherri was under the impression she was under arrest.
While Michael was supposed to be dealing with the disappearance of his wife five days earlier, he was discovered taking his jet skis to San Juan Capistrano for repairs. And Diana was with him.
Friends also reported that Michael was trying to give away his wife?s personal items almost immediately after she disappeared. It was as if he knew she was never coming back.
Unfortunately, Sherri did not come home. Her body was discovered on Caada Larga Road almost a month after she was reported missing. She?d been stabbed several times and experienced fractures due to blunt force trauma.
Diana was an easy target for suspicion. After all, receipts for her disguise and the rental car pointed to her. In fact, the rental Altima she returned even had blood on the seats. When the police arrived at Diana?s house, they may not have been surprised to find that Michael was there and in somewhat of a compromising position.
When he was charged with Sherri?s murder, Michael claimed total innocence. True, no physical evidence linked him to the scene of the crime. At the same time, circumstantial evidence of his involvement was mounting. For example, less than two hours after his wife?s disappearance, Michael told another friend that Sherri had been ?snatched.?
Even without DNA, Michael was found guilty of first-degree murder. Prosecutors claimed Michael aimed to avoid a costly divorce and also wanted to benefit from Sherri?s life insurance. Essentially, he?d put a $50,000 check over Sherri?s life.
On the other hand, Michael?s attorney claimed this was absolutely not the case. After all, Diana was receiving regular payments on a personal injury settlement stemming from an accident in which a basketball backboard hit her on the head. However, Diana was not receiving much more than $1,000 each month.
It did not take long for the lovers to turn on each other. Diana accused Michael of betraying her, using her, and misleading her when she found out that she was not his only lover.
Diana was also convicted of murder. She appealed her case, citing that the jury had been prejudiced by stories she practiced witchcraft. It didn?t work.
Today, Diana Haun is living the rest of her life in a Chowchilla prison without the possibility of parole. In spite of her petitions for clemency, she remains behind bars. In 2018, Michael petitioned for clemency as well.
Sherri wasn?t the only victim. Her sons also suffered, having lost both their parents. Sherri Dally?s sons were compensated with $6.4 million for the emotional and financial losses in a lawsuit against Haun. Unfortunately, it is unclear if the boys will receive this money because her annuity is already being used to cover the costs associated with her criminal defense.