Throughout the Diana Haun murder trial, prosecutors kept reminding the jury of the victim in the sensational case.
Sherri Dally, the mother of two young boys, loved her husband, Michael. But she was losing him to another woman.
“Inside, she wasn’t a happy person,” Michael’s niece, Heather Murray, told The Times last year. “Inside she hurt.”
Until her murder, Sherri Dally fought hard to hold onto the man she had loved since her junior year in high school. She lost weight, changed her hair and sewed him shirts.
When Michael Dally moved in with Haun for five months, Sherri Dally even stopped by their residence, picked up his car, washed and waxed it and then returned it, Murray said.
“I used to look at her and say, ‘My God, how do you do it?’ and her only response was, ‘Because I love him so much.’ I was shocked how many chances she gave him,” Murray said. John Avila, who has known Michael Dally since elementary school and calls him Butchy, recalled Sherri Dally’s devotion.
“Butchy never had to make a meal,” he said. “If he was going to work at 2 a.m., Sherri got up to cook for him at 1. If he needed to eat at 4 a.m., she was up at 3 a.m. . . . And yet she still felt she wasn’t good enough.
“She earned heaven the hard way. No doubt about that.”
Sherri Dally was born in Lancaster and moved with her parents to Ventura when she was a child. She met Michael Dally at Ventura High. She was a junior, he a senior.
“She never looked at another boy after she met Mike,” said Sherri’s grandmother, Claris Guess. “He was the one person in her life. He was her one and only love.”
Three years later, they married. They had two sons, Devon, 8, and Max, 6. She quit her job as a checkout clerk at Vons and started a day-care business.
By all accounts, the marriage was marked by her fidelity and Michael Dally’s infidelity.
“There’s no doubt he saw other women,” Avila said. “Everyone knew about it. Butchy has a wild side.”
“He’s a macho-type person,” Guess told The Times last year. “It’s his personality. It came out more as he got older.”
For Sherri Dally, marriage was all about family.
“Her whole life was focused around Mike and the boys, making them happy,” said another niece of Michael Dally’s, Hannah Murray. “She was the doting wife every guy wants.”
“Is there a word stronger than ‘devoted’?” asked John Avila’s wife, Leslie. “She was more devoted than anyone I know.”