Dahlia Hawthorne was a student at Ivy University and a girlfriend of Phoenix Wright. She appeared as a witness in the murders of her sister Valerie Hawthorne, her ex-boyfriend Doug Swallow and Elise Deauxnim.
A wealthy jeweler married Morgan Fey, who was to become the head of the Fey clan, and had two twin daughters with her: Dahlia and Iris. When Misty Fey became the head instead, making Morgan's bloodline a powerless branch family, the jeweler left his wife, taking their daughters with him. He later remarried to a woman who already had a daughter, Valerie Hawthorne. Not wanting three daughters, he gave Iris away to the Hazakura Temple. As Dahlia stayed with the Hawthornes, she began to hate her father and plotted against him for his money.
When Dahlia was 14 years old, she met Terry Fawles, her tutor, and pretended to fall in love with him to use him to exact revenge on her father. With Valerie's cooperation, she staged a fake kidnapping by Fawles to get her hands on one of her father's rare jewels. At Dusky Bridge near Hazakura Temple, however, Valerie betrayed Fawles and shot him in the arm, the signal for the "hostage" to jump into Eagle River intentionally with the diamond in her backpack. Fawles was convicted for Dahlia's "murder" and sentenced to death row.
- Main article: Turnabout Beginnings
Five years later, Fawles was being transferred to another prison, but his transport broke down and he broke out. He called Valerie Hawthorne and told her to meet him at Dusky Bridge to explain what had happened. Valerie called Dahlia and told her that she was going to tell the truth about the incident. Fearful of what would result from the meeting, Dahlia stabbed Valerie at Dusky Bridge and then, when Fawles arrived by a stolen car, she hid the body in the trunk of the car and then met Fawles at the bridge, posing as Valerie. Fawles was arrested soon afterward, now accused of a real murder.
During Fawles's trial, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth prepared Dahlia as a witness named Melissa Foster. Mia Fey, the attorney for the defendant, was almost able to prove that Dahlia was the killer, but Fawles refused to cooperate with Fey, poisoning himself and dying on the stand instead. Fey would later recall that Dahlia left the courtroom with a "demonic smile on her face".
This result drove Fey's co-worker, defense attorney Diego Armando, to meeting with Dahlia in the courthouse cafeteria, but Dahlia quietly slipped poison stolen from Doug Swallow, her boyfriend at the time, into his coffee from her bottle necklace. Soon after, in the reading room, Dahlia stumbled across fellow Ivy University student Phoenix Wright and gave him the necklace as a "love gift" to evade the authorities. Swallow later found out about the stolen poison and broke up with her.
Because of lingering suspicion over this incident, Dahlia asked her sister Iris to live her life at Ivy University in the event of another encounter with law enforcement, and to retake the bottle from Wright.
- Main article: Turnabout Memories
Having failed to retake the bottle necklace for six months, Dahlia finally went back to Ivy University herself. She tried to kill Wright by stealing Swallow's poison again and poisoning Wright's cold medicine. However, when she found Swallow trying to warn Wright about the poison, she killed Swallow instead and tried to frame Wright for his death. During Wright's trial, his attorney, Mia Fey, exposed her as the killer. Dahlia was then convicted and sentenced to death.
Prison and execution
Five years later, Dahlia met with her mother in prison. Morgan told her about her plan to lure Pearl Fey and Maya Fey to Hazakura Temple; there, Pearl would channel Dahlia, who would kill Maya. Soon after this exchange, Dahlia was executed by hanging.
- Main article: Bridge to the Turnabout
|Godot: ...Upon meeting a beautiful lady, always ask for her name and profession. That's one of my rules. Dahlia: Dahlia Hawthorne. And my current profession? Permanently retired.|
One month after Dahlia's execution, Godot and Misty Fey learned of Morgan Fey's plot and tried to stop it by having Misty channel Dahlia instead. Godot would then restrain Dahlia and stop her from killing Maya. However, Dahlia attacked Maya at the Inner Temple, which was some distance away from Hazakura Temple, and Godot was forced to kill her. Iris was put on trial for the murder.
Maya then locked herself in an icy training room inside the Inner Temple and channeled Dahlia to stop Pearl from doing so. Later, in an effort to save Maya, Iris was called upon to undo the locks to the training room. Once she had undone the locks, an earthquake shook the region, and Dahlia took the distraction as an opportunity to switch with Iris and to lock Iris inside the training room.
During Iris's trial, Dahlia, posing as Iris, claimed that Maya had killed Misty and then had killed herself in her guilt. However, Wright figured out who she was and who was channeling her; distraught over her failure to kill Maya when she had been so close to her for days, Dahlia left Maya's body, and the judge suggested that her spirit never be channeled again.
Dahlia Hawthorne knew that her beauty and innocent appearance threw others off her true nature and took full advantage of it. She had the ability to make herself appear serene and innocent; she was often portrayed as having small butterflies flock about her and flutter gently. However, this aura of innocence was a facade, and when pressed into a corner, her demeanor could change to a terrifying, almost demonic visage. In truth, Hawthorne looked after and cared about nobody but herself, and even went as far as to state that this had always been the case for her.
Many who have seen Hawthorne's true nature, such as Phoenix Wright and Mia Fey, have described Hawthorne as evil, and even the judge has suggested that she never be channeled again. Indeed, all of Hawthorne's murders and attempted murders were committed to cover up a previous crime or to exact revenge on Mia Fey. She displayed absolutely no remorse or regret for any of the crimes she had committed, and seemingly had no qualms about murdering completely innocent people for self-preservation.
Hawthorne's sister Iris once gave a somewhat different description of her. Having been abandoned by her mother and neglected by her father, Iris felt sorry for Hawthorne because Iris at least had Bikini to take care of her. Iris also described Hawthorne as "strong" and "smart", never complaining about her situation.
- Dahlia is the name of a flower, but it is especially well known from the murder mystery The Black Dahlia.
- Her last name is a reference to her "having thorns". It may also be a reference to famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote Rappaccini's Daughter, a short story in which a man falls in love with a woman. This woman has a strong poison coursing through her veins and can kill anything with a simple touch. Hawthorne also wrote The Scarlet Letter, which deals with the guilt of a woman in 17th-century Boston who has an illegitimate child. The child's name is Pearl.
- Her fake surname "Foster" mimics her Japanese name, Satoko Mukui (Mukui satoko literally means "a vengeful foster child").
- Miyanagi (美柳) is a name that evokes a feeling of tranquility. Chinami (ちなみ) may come from the phrase "chi mo namida mo nai" ("without blood or tears"), basically meaning "heartless". It also follows Naruhodou's naming convention, as "chinami ni" means "by the way."
- Her french surname "Plantule" refers to a part of a seed.