Dateline: Unforgettable - Where is Nick Hacheney now?

Nick Hacheney
Nick Hacheney's sentence explored (Image via Unsplash/Emiliano Bar)

The murder of Dawn Hacheney in 1997 led to the arrest of the Bainbridge pastor, Nick Hacheney, in 2001. The death of Dawn had been registered as accidental by the authorities before they suspected Nick of foul play.

Dawn Hacheney had been suffocated to death with a plastic bag and left in her burning apartment to die, per the Kitsap Sun. A tip from one of Nick's lovers and Church prophetess, Sandra Glass, landed him in prison for life. However, the decision was overruled in 2008 and he was sentenced to 26 years and 8 months at the Washington Corrections Center.

The Dateline: Unforgettable episode "Twisted Faith" showcases the arrest of Nick Hacheney as it airs on June 20, 2024, at 8 p.m. EST on Oxygen. The official synopsis reads:

"A charismatic pastor's dark secrets come to light, triggering a murder investigation. Josh Mankiewicz looks back at a case that shattered a congregation and exposed the cost of their unshakable trust."

How was Nick Hacheney arrested?

Dateline: Unforgettable season 4's third episode showcases the death of Dawn Hacheney which was assumed to be accidental resulting in the case turning cold for almost 3 years. Dawn Hacheney (28) was found burnt and unresponsive on her bed on December 26, 1997, while Nick had been out duck hunting, per Oxygen.

The investigators found propane canisters, an electric space heater, and burnt wrappers from Christmas presents all over the room. When questioned, Nick answered that the propane had been a gift for Christmas. He also mentioned that Dawn had also taken Benadryl which possibly prevented her from escaping the fire, per the Kitsap Sun.

As the case was reopened in 2001 with information from Sandra Glass, the authorities found several inconsistencies in the death of Dawn Hacheney. In April 2001, Sandra confessed to having an affair with Nick Hacheney in 1997. Nick had allegedly promised to marry Sandra as well, per court documents.

Sandra Glass told the authorities that Nicholas Hacheney had admitted to drugging Dawn with Benadryl and suffocating her with a plastic bag while they were alone in the basement of their church. Dawn's autopsy report dated 1997 reported the lack of soot in her trachea or lungs. Furthermore, the toxicology report stated high levels of Benadryl in her system.

Where is Nick Hacheney now?

Nick Hacheney was charged with first-degree premeditated murder in September 2001. The jury found Nick guilty of first-degree premeditated murder on December 26, 2002. During his trial, he reportedly said that he had killed Dawn Hacheney during first-degree arson.

Nick was sentenced to life in prison without parole initially but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court due to technical differences in 2007. The Kitsap Sun reported what Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Neil Wachter shared at the time,

"In essence, the Supreme Court concluded the murder and arson were separate acts. But to take another person's life and then burn the body to cover up the crime is one continuing act."

Nick was resentenced to 26 years and 8 months in 2008, per The Seattle Times. He presently remains incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center, according to the Washington State Department of Corrections. He will be eligible for parole in 2025.

Watch the details of Dawn Hacheney's murder as Dateline: Unforgettable airs on Oxygen on Thursday, June 20.

Edited by Pradyot Hegde
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