A Gilbert woman faces charges of first-degree murder and possibility of the death penalty for the death of her husband in 2009. The trial has taken many turns amid conflicting statements from the defendant and witnesses.
On January 14, 2009, 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. DeVault did not deny bludgeoning her husband’s skull, but claimed she acted in self defense.
Marissa DeVault, 36, of Gilbert claimed that she “snapped,” according to AZ Central.
Harrell died three weeks after the beating, and DeVault now stands trial for first-degree murder, 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 from his insurance.
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, Allen Flores, stated the two met on a website designed to connect endowed men, or “sugar daddies,” to “women in financial need,” according to azcentral.com.
The conflicting statements by all parties have 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 has barred the use of the interview in the trial unless the daughter testifies.
The court must determine whether the allegations of abuse are credible. According to court records, DeVault will appear in court for her 19th day of trial on March 10.