A Louisiana woman who allegedly poisoned her boyfriend is also being accused by prosecutors of poisoning her husband as well, according to authorities.
Meshell Hale, 51, is set to stand trial for the 2015 poisoning of her live-in boyfriend, Damian Skipper, 41.Now, prosecutors say they want to introduce the death of her husband, Arthur Noflin Jr., at trial as evidence of other crimes due to the nature of his death. Hale has pleaded not guilty.
Skipper was discovered unconscious in the couple’s Baton Rouge home in June 2015, but it was was ruled that he died of natural causes, court documents said.
Months later, after Hale had claimed to be Skipper’s wife and received $10,000 from his life insurance policy, police discovered that Hale was only Skipper's girlfriend and that she was actually married to Noflin, whose body was found inside his burning truck.
Hale had also allegedly filed to receive $750,000 from Noflin’s life insurance policy. That claim has been put on hold by a judge until her current case is resolved.
Authorities then began investigating both deaths and obtained search warrants for Hale’s computer and phones.
Searches of her devices showed that Hale had been researching “barium acetate” online and that she had some shipped to her home, according to authorities.
It was then that police decided to exhume Skipper’s body and found “extreme levels of barium” in his system. His death was then ruled a homicide and Hale was charged with first-degree murder. She was arrested in June 2018.
“Detectives also learned that Arthur Noflin was hospitalized twice after Damian’s death with the identical symptoms,” court documents said.
Prosecutors are now hoping to introduce that evidence in court.
“[T]he murder of Arthur Noflin constitutes an integral act in the murder of Damian Skipper because it is so intertwined with the offense charged that the state could not accurately present its case without reference to it,” prosecutors said in their motion to introduce the case.
Hale is set to appear in court on Jan. 13 for a hearing.
"If the state gets what it is asking … and is allowed to offer evidence related to the New Orleans case into the Skipper trial, there is a very real and substantial risk that the jury will be misled," said John Russell, one of Hale's attorneys, according The Advocate.
Hale has not been charged in connection with the death of Noflin, but she is still being investigated for the death, which has not been classified yet. She has denied committing any crimes.