domestic violence

Marissa Devault Sentenced to Life in Prison

Marissa Devault was sentenced to life in prison on April 30 for the murder of her husband in 2009.

On April 9, 2014, Marissa Devault of Gilbert was convicted for bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer in 2009. The trial took many turns amid conflicting statements from the defendant and witnesses as the jury worked to determine whether Devault should be sentenced to death or spend her life in prison.Marissa Devault Convicted

Marissa Devault’s husband, Dale Harrell, was found in the master bedroom of their home, his face and head severely beaten with a claw hammer on January 14, 2009.

At first, Devault claimed that her husband had strangled her unconscious, and when she woke up, she saw an invader beating him with a hammer. Later, she admitted to attacking him with a hammer in self-defense after he had sexually assaulted her, AZFamily reports.

Marissa Devault, 36, claimed that she “snapped,” according to AZ Central.

Harrell died in hospice care from head injury complications three weeks after the beating. Devault was on trial for first-degree murder at the time, with allegations of a decade of physical abuse and rape by her husband as her explanation.

Devault was indicted on March 4, 2009, according to Maricopa County Court records. It was determined she was mentally competent to stand trial on Sept. 14, 2010.

Prosecutors later claimed in court that Devault killed Harrell in an attempt to collect his life insurance as a way to pay back a loan from her suspected boyfriend, Allen Flores.

The course of the trial has been turbulent since the beginning, with a false confession from roommate, Stanley Cook, who suffers from brain damage-induced memory loss, to an ex-boyfriend who claims Devault told him to “take care” of the abusive husband who she initially told him had died of stomach cancer.

A string of ex-lovers have made statements to police, one of whom said he gave Devault $360,000 over the course of two years. The lover, Flores, stated the two met on a website designed to connect endowed men, or “sugar daddies,” to “women in financial need,” according to

The conflicting statements by all parties complicated Devault’s accusations of abuse of her and her daughters.

On March 5, 2014, a controversy arose regarding the court usage of the interview of one of Devault’s daughters, who recently turned 18. Judge Roland Steinle barred the use of the interview in the trial unless the daughter testifies.

Jurors decided on Monday, April 14, that Devault had indeed killed her husband in an especially cruel manner, making her eligible for the death penalty. This opened the door for the jury to determine if Devault should be imprisoned for life or sentenced to death, according to AZFamily.

On Wednesday, April 30, the jury sentenced Devault to life in prison, and a judge will determine on June 1 if she will be eligible for parole, KPHO reports. Devault would have been the third Arizona woman to serve on death row.

Scottsdale Law Firm Corso Law Group Believes in Providing the Best Possible Legal Representation, Clients Say

A strong passion for justice and dedication to defending the rights of their clients as well as an extensive knowledge of Arizona state and national laws have given Corso Law Group a competitive edge against other Arizona attorneys, and satisfied clients are sharing their positive experiences.

“Providing a personal touch is one of the rules we live by at Corso Law Group,” said founding partner Christopher P. Corso, Esq. “All of the positive reviews and positive feedback we receive bring us closer to our clients and allow us to continue to grow as a firm.

Several triumphant clients support Corso’s comments with positive reviews.

“I am very blessed to have walked into the law offices of Corso Law Group,” Alex L. said. “Their associates were only a call away, and they have been handling my cases ever since then. I currently live out of state, but Corso Law Group always keeps me updated, follows up with me and…believes in me. I don’t know what I would do without their judgement and strict belief in justice.”

The criminal defense attorneys of Corso Law Group aggressively work to defend their clients, but they also take the time to get to know each individual to meet their specific legal needs.

Another Corso Law Group review amplifies this statement.

“They were easy to work with and did not hide anything,” Anthony S. of Scottsdale said. “They showed me how the case would typically proceed and made sure I was comfortable. My first time with a lawyer was easy. They make you feel at home. My case was dismissed, as they predicted. Try them, I recommend them all day long.”

The experienced attorneys at Corso Law Group are experts in criminal law, handling all criminal defense cases, including DUI defense, domestic violence defense, possession of drugs, felony drug charges, photo radar, criminal speeding, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

Corso Law Group also handles all types of Arizona family law cases, including Arizona divorce issues such as child custody, child support, alimony disputes, spousal support issues and visitation rights. And the Arizona lawyers are experts at Arizona personal injury and accident cases. From worker’s compensation claims to Arizona auto accidents, the personal injury lawyers at Corso Law Group continue to garner positive reviews for their attention to detail and their care and commitment.

The experienced attorneys at Corso Law Group serve clients throughout Arizona, including the cities of Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson and Youngtown. To schedule a free consultation, please visit or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 17470 N. Pacesetter Way Scottsdale, AZ 85255.

Marissa Alexander, Domestic Violence and the “Stand Your Ground” Defense

Imagine facing up to 60 years behind bars for protecting yourself during a domestic dispute incident.

That’s the legal predicament Marissa Alexander was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2012.

Alexander fired a warning shot in the direction of her estranged husband and his two kids after she said they had been fighting and he threatened to kill her that day. The shots hit the wall and no injuries resulted from the gunfire.Marissa Alexander

She was sentenced to 20 years, three counts served concurrently adding up to 60 years in prison, but an appeals court tossed the conviction, claiming the judge made a mistake in shifting the burden to Alexander to prove she acted in self-defense. The jury found Alexander guilty in under 15 minutes of debate.

The same court that ordered a retrial appealed the 60 year sentencing and said that when a defendant is convicted of multiple counts of the same crime, judges must make the sentences consecutive, not concurrent, which would triple Alexander’s original 20 year conviction.

Others, such as Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, disagree and argue that the court is simply following Florida’s state sentencing laws, and that 60 years is the proper sentencing.

The prosecutor for Alexander’s case is Angela Corey, the same prosecutor who has gained local and national infamy for her rulings on the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn cases in Florida.

Corey initially offered Alexander a deal of three years in prison if she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but Alexander rejected the plea claiming she hadn’t done anything wrong.

Alexander was not eligible for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” defense which is an NRA-backed law that provides protection to those seeking to claim self defense after legal altercations involving the use of firearms.

While several states have their own “Stand Your Ground” laws, this defense has become particularly controversial in Florida. The cases of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn are being compared to Alexander’s because they all are based on the inconsistencies of this defense.

Zimmerman shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who Zimmerman attacked because he found the teen to be suspicious while walking the streets of his neighborhood one evening,was able to use the Stand Your Ground defense in his case. Charges against him have been acquitted.

Similarly, Dunn fired multiple shots and killed 19 year old Jordan Davis for playing music too loudly in his SUV parked at a convenience store and, while he didn’t use the Stand Your Ground defense, Dunn claimed self defense in his case. He has been convicted on three counts of attempted murder and then some, but his exact sentencing has yet to be determined by Corey and the court and it’s estimated that he will spend only 60 years in prison, the same sentencing that Alexander currently faces.

Both of these men shot and killed innocent teens.

Alexander, on the other hand, did not kill or even injure anyone and has been denied protection from Stand Your Ground. She could spend the same amount of time in jail as Dunn while Zimmerman walks free.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown is one of many supporters who believe that 60 years is in no way the proper result for Alexander and are demanding that those in power, especially Corey, exercise their legal discretion with fairness and justice in Alexander’s case.

A group of Florida ministers also support Alexander’s case and have been trying to push Corey to offer Alexander the original three-year sentence once more.

Alexander posted $200,000 bail and has been released on strict house arrest including the use of an ankle location-monitoring device for the time being.

The retrial is scheduled for July 2014; however, Alexander’s attorney Bruce Zimet has been working toward another chance at proving that Alexander should be protected under the Stand Your Ground law, arguing that erroneous instructions regarding self defense were given to the jury originally.

Circuit Judge James Daniel announced a hearing will take place May 16 to determine if Alexander will be granted this protection. If she is protected by Stand Your Ground, immunity will be granted and a new trial will not follow, MSNBC reports.

Arizona Domestic Violence Arrests Bring with Them Plenty of Frequently Asked Questions, According to Corso Law Group

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Arizona domestic violence charges are serious and come with serious implications for Arizona families, according to the experienced domestic violence lawyers at Scottsdale-based Corso Law Group.

“Domestic violence charges can be embarrassing and very costly for families,” said Christopher P. Corso of Corso Law Group. “Having an experienced domestic violence lawyer on your side can make a world of difference.”

In Arizona, domestic violence charges can be filed against spouses, partners, former partners, people who live together, people dating, family member, relatives and even the elderly.

Domestic violence charges in Arizona can be filed by the victim of the abuse or by the courts themselves. In Arizona, domestic violence laws have become harsher in recent years. In an attempt to protect women who may be threatened, intimidated or have misplaced feelings of love, courts in Arizona are aggressive when pursuing domestic violence charges.

“It’s important to arm yourself with the best domestic violence lawyer you can,” Corso said. “Facing such charges alone is never a good idea.”

For more information about Arizona domestic violence charges, please contact us or call Corso Law Group at (480) 471-4616 to schedule a free consultation.

Corso Law Group has quickly built a reputation for its vigorous defense of clients, using its lawyers’ previous experience with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and other prosecutorial agencies to assist its clients with their criminal defense cases.

In addition to domestic violence charges, Corso Law Group handles all criminal defense cases, including Arizona DUI defense, possession of drugs, felony drug charges, photo radar, criminal speeding, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

The experienced Arizona domestic violence lawyers at Corso Law Group serve clients throughout Arizona, including the cities of Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson and Youngtown.

To schedule a free consultation, please visit or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 17470 N. Pacesetter Way Scottsdale, AZ 85255.

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