An Arizona woman was convicted of first-degree Tuesday for bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer in what prosecutors said was a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend.
The same jury that convicted Marissa Devault now will decide whether to sentence her to life in prison or the death penalty in the 2009 killing of Dale Harrell. The penalty phase is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.
Devault sat in the Phoenix courtroom expressionless as she listened to the verdict, which the jury reached after deliberating for five and a half days.
The case had many salacious elements, including testimony about plots to hire a hit man and the fact that Devault was a former stripper who met her boyfriend on a sugar-daddy dating website. But the judge in the case made extensive efforts to keep the trial from becoming a sideshow like the one that enveloped the Jodi Arias case in the same courthouse exactly one year ago.
People are gonna get enough of foolin’ around with these shady internet slores.
Like Arias, Devault maintains she killed in self-defense and told investigators that her husband had physically and sexually abused her in the past.
But prosecutors contend that the attack on Harrell was premeditated and say Devault gave conflicting accounts of her husband’s death. Harrell, 34, suffered multiple skull fractures in the January 2009 attack at the couple’s home in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. He died nearly a month later at a hospice because of complications from his head injuries.
Devault initially told investigators that her husband attacked her while she was asleep and choked her until she was unconscious. She also told police that when she woke up, she saw another man who lived at their home beating Harrell with a hammer.
But authorities say bloodstain patterns showed Harrell was alone in the bed at the time of the attack and that bloodstains on Devault’s clothes were consistent with a person swinging an object repeatedly over his or her head.
Investigators say Devault later confessed to attacking her husband, saying she pummeled him in a rage as he slept after he sexually assaulted her.
How the hell did she see this playin’ out in her head? Murder homie, get the gwap, then ride off into the sunset?? SMH
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