On Bainbridge Island in Washington, Nick Hacheney was popular within the church community as the young pastor who also conducted marriage counseling. But his own marriage ended just after Christmas in 1997 when a seemingly accidental fire killed his wife, Dawn Hacheney, as she slept. However, a later inquiry revealed it wasn’t an accident after all. Both Investigation Discovery’s ‘Deadly Sins: No Forgiveness: Cheating Death’ and NBC’s ‘Dateline: Mortal Sin Podcast’ focus on Nick’s extramarital affairs and his wife’s eventual murder. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Nick Hacheney?
Nick and Dawn Hacheney seemed to be the perfect couple as far as the church community was concerned. Both had been religious from a young age and while Nick worked as the pastor, Dawn was a loan officer at a credit union. All seemed well until a tragic accident changed everything. Early on December 26, 1997, Nick headed out on a hunting trip with his friends early in the morning. Soon after, a neighbor noticed smoke coming from the Hacheney residence in east Bremerton, Washington and sounded the alarm.
The authorities got the fire under control, only to then make a grueling discovery inside. 28-year-old Dawn’s charred remains were found in the bed the couple shared. In the bedroom, they also uncovered propane canisters and a space heater. When Nick was questioned, he stated that they had attended a Christmas party the previous night and opened presents at home afterward. According to him, the wrapping paper was in front of the heater, and the propane cans were the gift.
Nick also said Dawn hadn’t been feeling well, so she took Benadryl in the middle of the night, the sensitivity of which might have been the reason Dawn failed to escape. He further mentioned turning the heater on before he left for the hunting trip. Initially, the officials believed Nick’s story and ruled her death an accident. But new information prompted them to take a second look at the case in 2001. At that point, Sandra Glass, Nick’s secretary, came to the police with new details.
Nick, who’d initially seemed distraught, appeared to move on within months. It later came to light that he began having sexual relationships with at least three women, one of them being a 20-year-old missionary. On the other hand, Sandra had come forward to concede that she’d had an affair with Nick too, and it was in 1997 when Dawn was still very much alive. As per the ID show, he made her believe they would get married. However, he chose to be with Nicole Matheson after Dawn’s death.
Sandra then told the authorities that a few weeks after Dawn died, Nick admitted to giving her Benadryl and holding a plastic bag over her head to suffocate her. After that, he confessed to setting the fire. Her body was subsequently exhumed, following which an autopsy confirmed she had no soot in her lungs. This indicated that she had in fact died before the fire started. Furthermore, Dawn had high levels of Benadryl in her system.
Where is Nick Hacheney Today?
The prosecution contended that Nick killed Dawn so he could see other women. The defense, though, said Sandra put the murder on him because she was upset about him marrying Nicole. Testimony also included the emails he exchanged with the missionary, Lindsay Lautsbaugh. In December 2002, Nick was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But in 2007, Nick’s sentence was overturned because the Supreme Court ruled that the fire was not an aggravating factor in the death.
As a result, in 2008, Nick Hacheney was resentenced to serve 26 years and 8 months behind bars. Prison records indicate that he, now 53, remains incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, Mason County. While in prison, he has advocated for educational programs and co-founded the Environmental Advancement Reintegration Network. Nick also built a waste management system using worm composting and has given a TED talk about sustainability. As per reports, he will be eligible for parole in 2025.
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