As of March 2020, Meshell Hale is still awaiting trial on one murder charge and under investigation for a second. Her live-in boyfriend, Damian Skipper, died June 30, 2015, apparently from a heart attack. Meshell was the beneficiary to a $10,000 life insurance pay-out. On the insurance forms she had falsely claimed to be his wife. She was in fact married to Arthur Noflin Jr. since 2008 but had moved in with Skipper in 2014. Nine months following Skipper’s death the body of Mechell’s estranged husband was discovered in his truck in New Orleans 80 miles from his home in Baton Rouge. The truck was afire and his remains were charred.
On March 21, 2016 Noflin’s charred body was found in his truck in New Orleans, 80 miles away from home. A few days later Mechelle reported to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff that Noflin was missing. Deputies were suspicious and investigated. An autopsy on Noflin’s body showed no signs of trauma and determined he did not inhale any smoke, meaning he was dead before his body was burned. Only after investigating Mechelle’s background did deputies learn that she had been connected to Damian Skipper. In April Skipper's body, which had not been autopsied, was exhumed from a Breaux Bridge cemetery. Barium was found in his remains and his cause of death was now ruled homicide by poisoning.
A month later Mechell’s home was searched. The search turned up several phones and computers with search-engine histories centered on barium acetate and its poisoning effects, the warrant states. Searches of her financial records revealed several purchases of barium acetate. On June 15, Mechelle was arrested and charged with second degree murder. By the time she was indicted in October of 2016, the charge had been changed to first degree murder. Based on Mechelle’s barium purchases preceding the deaths of both men, Noflin’s death was investigated as a possible murder.
Mechell attempted to collect on a $750,000 life insurance policy on Noflin, but prosecutors blocked the process, pending developments in the homicide investigation. Due to the condition of Noflin’s body, charges have not yet been filed, but are under consideration.
Originally Mechell Hale faced the death penalty, but prosecutor has changed the requested sentence to life in prison.
[Robert St. Estephe, April 24, 2020]
2008 – Hale marries Arthur Noflin Jr, never divorced.
2014 – Hale begins living with Damian Skipper.
Jun. 23(ca), 2015 – Skipper in and out of the hospital for about a week for abdominal pain.
Jun. 30, 2015 – Damian Skipper (41), boyfriend, dies; barium sulphate. Hospitalized with identical symptoms to that of Noflin.
Jul. 2015 – “the month after Skipper died, Noflin's will was changed to make Hale the sole beneficiary of a $750,000.”
Jul. 2015 – Noflin's $750,000 life insurance policy was changed to make Hale the sole beneficiary, Normand said.
Jan. 2016 – Hale purchases barium acetate before Noflin became ill.
Mar. 18, 2016 – Arthur Noflin Jr. (42), husband, dies. Baton Rouge, La.
Mar. 21, 2016 – Noflin’s body found. Body found in burning truck in New Orleans. $10,000 insurance collected. Falsely claimed to be married on insurance form. An autopsy on Noflin’s body showed no signs of trauma and determined he did not inhale any smoke, meaning he was dead before his body was burned.
Mar 24 (?), 2016 – “A few days after Noflin's body was found, on March 21, 2016, Hale reported her husband missing to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff.”
Apr. 2017 – Skipper's body, which had not been autopsied, was exhumed from a Breaux Bridge cemetery in April 2017.
May 9, 2016 – search of Hale's home turned up several phones and computers with search-engine histories centered on barium acetate and its poisoning effects, the warrant states. Searches of her financial records revealed several purchases of barium acetate.
May 2017 – A month later, following an autopsy, Skipper's cause of death was changed to a homicide from barium poisoning.
ERROR May 18, 2018 – Skipper’s body exhumed.
Jun. 5, 2018 – Meshell Hale, (50), arrested. Hale was initially booked Tuesday on a count of second-degree murder, and her bail was set at $150,000.
Oct. 2018 – indicted by an East Baton Rouge Parish.
Jan. 6, 2019 – pleads not guilty to Skipper first degree murder charge.
Jan. 13, 2020 – prosecutor changes penalty request from death to life.
Jan. 2020 – A New Orleans police detective testified in January that Meshell Hale purchased barium acetate three times: twice in 2015 and once in 2016 before Noflin's death.
Then on May 9, 2016, officials executed a search warrant at Hale's home and seized several phones, computers, and tablets. They discovered Hale had searched for things such as "barium acetate poisoning" and "how common is barium poisoning" and "barium acetate put in food." Hale had also searched "Transamerica Employee Benefits, Damian Skipper health claim form" and "Damian Skipper Death Claim Form." Officials also searched Hale's iPhone 5 and found searches for "How bad does Barium taste- truly" and "heart stopping drugs" and "can flex straps be used as handcuffs." [“Cajun allegedly kills hubby with heart-stopping poison,” Insurance Fraud News, May 31, 2018
Investigation: "Searches of her electronic devices revealed Bing searches concerning barium acetate, purchases of barium acetate on her PayPal account and shipments of barium acetate to her residence.”
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.
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