On April 30 in a Maricopa County, Ariz. courtroom, Marissa DeVault, 36, who had already been found guilty of “beating her husband to death with a hammer five years ago,” was sentenced to life behind bars for that brutal 2009 murder. Her sentence was determined courtesy of the same jury that previously found her guilty of husband Dale Harrell’s first-degree murder.
The jury deliberated for a few days in the sentencing phase of her trial, according to Fox News. The jurors could have recommended the death penalty for her heinous crime. But all 12 jurors opted for life in prison, bringing a split second smile to the convicted murderer’s lips in court today. Because of the especially cruel nature of her attack on Harrell, DeVault qualified for the death penalty at sentencing.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that DeVault murdered Harrell to try and reap the rewards of his life insurance policy, so she could “repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend.” It was DeVault’s stance that she killed her husband in self-defense, and that Harrell had sexually and physically abused her.
USA Today reported that when police arrived at the scene of the crime on Jan. 14, 2009, they found DeVault’s 34-year-old husband “writhing and thrashing” on the bedroom floor next to the blood-soaked bed inside the couple’s Gilbert, Ariz. home. The wife had apparently bashed in the right side of her husband’s face and head with a claw hammer.
A friend of DeVault’s, Stan Cook, who lived at the home with the couple and their three kids, took the hammer away from her after the attack. The husband died three weeks following his horrific beating.
After her arrest, DeVault was bailed out of jail by her lover, Allen Flores, who she met “two years earlier on a website that helped women meet ‘sugar daddies.’” During her trial, another of the murderous wife’s former lovers came forward to testify that “DeVault had approached him to ‘"take care of"’ Harrell, a proposition he turned down.
On June 6, the judge in the case will decide if DeVault will serve life without the possibility of parole – or “have the possibility of release after 25 years.” For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.