Woman bought poison online shortly before husband & boyfriend's deaths, prosecutors say
BATON ROUGE - The trial of Meshell Hale, a woman suspected of poisoning two men who died roughly a year apart, resumed Monday with prosecutors laying out some of the most damning evidence against her yet.
Detectives testified that Hale — or a person using her name, contact information, credit card, and computer — purchased barium acetate online on three different occasions. The same compound was found in both men's systems after they died.
The transactions happened first in January 2015 and again in May that same year. Damian Skipper — a boyfriend Hale described as her "husband" — died in June, and a pathologist testified earlier in the trial that Skipper had ingested a massive amount of barium right before his death. Traces of the chemical were also found in his hair, indicating it was ingested some time before his death.
Records showed another purchase in January 2016. Hale's husband, Arthur Noflin, was found dead in March of that year. Noflin's cause of death could not be determined due to his body — which was found in a flaming car — being so badly burned.
However, both men had complained of symptoms consistent with barium poisoning and even went to the hospital prior to their deaths.
Prosecutors say the motive was insurance money. Hale finessed a $10,000 payment from Skipper's life insurance despite not legally being his wife. The state argues she got greedy and wanted more, going after her actual husband, Noflin, who had a $750,000 policy.
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