Baton Rouge Woman Receives Life Sentence


On Friday, December 16, a Baton Rouge woman was convicted of second-degree murder for fatally poisoning her boyfriend. According to KLFY, the woman, named Meshell Hale, 54, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

The Death Of Her Boyfriend And Husband

In 2015, Hale’s live-in boyfriend Damian Skipper, 41, died after what was initially presumed to be a heart attack. Later, it was discovered that Skipper’s death was due to consuming barium acetate.

According to the outlet, Hale was discovered to have purchased the poison online multiple times between 2015 and 2016.

Additionally, the woman has also been implicated in the 2016 death of her estranged husband Arthur Noflin, 42. According to The Advocate, Noflin’s “charred remains” were found in the backseat of his “fire-torched” pickup truck in March 2016. Because Noflin’s body was so badly burned, Samantha Huber, a forensic pathologist for the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, could not determine his cause of death.

It’s a suspicious thing, but I just can’t prove this is a homicide. I have other cases that are similar to this where it was suicide, so I have to be very, very careful.

Authorities were unable to rule Noflin’s death as a homicide.

The Aftermath Of Skipper & Noflin’s Death

After Skipper’s death in 2015, Hale collected $10,000 in life insurance payments. According to The Advocate, she alleged that she and Skipper were married.

Authorities suspect that Hale allegedly killed her estranged husband, Noflin, the following year to also lay claim to his $750,000 life insurance policy. Prosecutors noted that she was listed as the primary beneficiary in Noflin’s policy, also reported by the outlet.

When authorities informed Hale of Noflin’s death in 2016, she sobbed “inconsolably.”

This just can’t be. This just cannot be.

Despite her emotional display, Hale never shed tears.

A Bail Decision Has Family Members Outraged

Hale was convicted of the second-degree murder of Damian Skipper, on Friday, December 16. Skipper and Noflin’s family members were present at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.

Skipper’s cousin Michael Durand shared his sentiments about Hale’s conviction

It just shows you what God can do. It’s a blessing, and the district attorney did a lot of work. It’s not so much about her getting locked up. It’s about raising awareness for other men out there. You can save other lives.

However, a court hearing took place on Tuesday, where Hale’s attorney’s proceeded to challenge her conviction. To the surprise of many, Judge Raymond Bigelow decided to grant a bond request for the woman.

Bigelow set the 54-year-old’s bail at $300,000. And revoked her passport, ordering her to remain on house arrest if she is released.

Prosecutors immediately reacted, voicing that Hale could be a danger to the public if she is let out on bond.

This was a clean trial. It’s going to be upheld on appeal. There is no reason for her to leave that jail.

Durand shared his reaction to the judge’s decision.

I really don’t know how to feel. It was a shocker to give somebody a mandatory life sentence and then turn around and give them a bond. We can’t get Skipper back and it’s just kind of confusing right now that they would do such a thing.

Noflin’s oldest sister, Carol Noflin Hertzock, also shared her sentiments.

It’s just baffling to all of us. It makes no sense.

Hale is due back in court on February 22, 2023, as reported by KLFY.

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