Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Marissa Suzanne DEVAULT





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 14, 2009
Date of birth: November 6, 1977
Victim profile: Dale Harrell, 34 (her husband)
Method of murder: Beating with a hammer
Location: Gilbert, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on April 30, 2014. She can be eligible for early release after 25 years
photo gallery
Marissa Devault Indictment (1.5 Mb)

Marissa Devault Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murdering Husband With Hammer

By Jacques Billeaud -

April 30, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — A jury on Wednesday spared the life of an Arizona woman convicted of beating her husband to death with a hammer, sentencing her to life in prison instead of the death penalty.

The decision in the penalty phase of Marissa Devault's trial comes after the jury deliberated for about three days since April 22. Devault nodded when jurors were polled about their decision, and she hugged her attorneys before leaving the courtroom smiling.

"We're happy with the decision they made, thank God," defense attorney Andrew Anderson Clemency said outside the courthouse. "They made a decision to spare a life."

A judge scheduled a June 6 hearing where he will formally impose the sentence and decide whether she can be eligible for early release after 25 years.

Devault was convicted April 8 of first-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of Dale Harrell. Prosecutors say Devault killed Harrell in a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend. Devault says she killed her husband in self-defense and told investigators he had physically and sexually abused her in the past.

Harrell, 34, suffered multiple skull fractures in the attack at the couple's home in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. He died nearly a month later at a hospice of complications from his head injuries.

Amy Dewey, who lived with Devault and Harrell for about four months in the late 1990s, said she felt justice was served.

"I hope she can stay in prison for the rest of her natural life," Dewey said, adding that her one-time friendship with Devault soured after Devault made abusive comments. "For the family, I hope it means they can heal."

Harrell's relatives and jurors declined to comment.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery praised the jury for the "hard work" they put into the case.

"Imposing the death penalty in any circumstance is difficult and in this one the jurors apparently felt that a life sentence was appropriate," Montgomery said in a statement.

During the sentencing phase of her trial, Devault spoke directly to jurors for 11 minutes. She sobbed and wiped away tears as she said she was sorry for her actions and the pain she has caused Harrell's family.

She also said her actions will in some way always shadow her three daughters. "I am supposed to protect you, and instead I hurt you," Devault said.

Shortly after the attack, Devault told investigators Harrell attacked her as she slept 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.

Devault later confessed to attacking her husband, saying she pummeled him in a rage as he slept after he sexually assaulted her.

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. The judge in the case made extensive efforts to keep the trial from becoming the spectacle that enveloped the Jodi Arias case in the same courthouse a year ago.

Devault's past as a stripper, for instance, was barely mentioned during the trial. The case attracted nowhere near the attention of the Arias trial despite some similar circumstances.

The key prosecution witness was Devault's former boyfriend, Allen Flores, a businessman who met Devault on a sugar-daddy dating website and loaned her $300,000 during their two-year relationship.

Flores testified that Devault wanted to either hire someone to kill Harrell, or kill him herself and tell police he tried to rape her after a night of drinking.

Devault's attorneys attacked Flores' credibility, noting he was given an immunity agreement on child-pornography allegations in exchange for his testimony. The child pornography was found on Flores' computer during a search that was part of the murder investigation, authorities said.


Clinical psychologist diagnoses Marissa Devault as a psychopath

By Mia Garcia - FOX 10 News

April 22, 2014

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A clinical psychologist who testified in the Jodi Arias trial was back in court. This time, Dr. Janeen DeMarte was called to the stand after evaluating Marissa Devault.

Devault faces life in prison or death after killing her husband with a hammer.

The jury will start deliberating on life or death after closing arguments Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the state rested after calling Dr. DeMarte to the stand. DeMarte diagnosed Devault as a psychopath.

Last week, Devault apologized to the jury, "I can't do anything more than say I'm sorry," telling them she's sorry for killing her husband. "Dale's family.. my heart goes out to them.. his mother and father have had to experiences the worst loss in the world."

But on Monday, DeMarte disputed Devault's story, saying her jailhouse phone calls tell a different story.

"There was a lack of remorse. There was a time when she was talking about the murder of Mr. Harrell and laughing about it," said DeMarte.

DeMarte also says on those jail calls, Devault didn't show remorse for her husband's family.

"His family was wanting his remains and Ms. Devault said she refuses to release the remains unless they drop the lawsuit, which is again manipulative and also shows a lack of remorse for the family."

DeMarte diagnosed Devault with antisocial personality disorder. She questions why Devault would ask her mother and stepfather to take custody of her daughters if she was really physically abused by her mom and sexually abused by her step dad when she was a kid.

"Ms. Devault had reported that her mother was quite abusive toward her and so was her stepfather and in jail phone calls, I heard conversations where she was asking her parents to take custody of her children.. guardianship of her children."

A clinical psychologist for the defense testified last week that he did believe Devault was physically and sexually abused as a kid.

So different opinions from different psychologists. It'll be up to the jury to decide who they believe.


Hammer-killing trial: DeVault guilty of first-degree murder

By Michael Kiefer - The Republic -

April 8, 2014

A jury has found Marissa DeVault guilty of first-degree murder in beating her husband to death with a hammer in 2009.

The jury will return at 10 a.m. Wednesday to consider aggravating factors that will determine if she receives the death penalty.

According to police and prosecutors, and as borne out in testimony and court arguments, DeVault, 36, attacked Dale Harrell with the claw hammer in the bedroom of their Gilbert home that night. She claimed that he was abusive, that he had choked her and that he had forced himself on her sexually.

Harrell, 34, did not die immediately. In fact, he was recovering from the brain injuries, but had been weakened by a stroke and two heart attacks when he died of a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot to the lungs, three weeks after the attack, according to testimony from a medical examiner.

But the details of the case were sordid.

Prosecutors believe that DeVault killed Harrell, 34, for insurance money, in part to pay off more than $360,000 she had borrowed from a man, Allen Flores, she met on a website that matches "sugar daddies" to women in financial need.

DeVault tried to blame the attack on a brain-damaged friend who lived in her house with her and her husband, and he even signed a confession. Prosecutors opined that DeVault had asked for the false confession in order to collect the insurance.

According to prosecutors, DeVault also tried to enlist a former lover to kill her husband. That man testified that DeVault wanted him to "take care of" Harrell, though he was not entirely sure what that meant and didn't want to have anything to do with DeVault, anyway.

DeVault had told elaborate stories to friends and family about inheriting money, and she told people, possibly including her husband, that Flores was her dead stepfather's gay lover. In fact, her stepfather was neither dead, nor gay, and Flores was her lover.

Furthermore, Flores was assured that he could not incriminate himself by testifying against DeVault for any aid he gave her with insurance advice or in editing the false confession letter. Instead, he was portrayed as a victim and was even granted partial immunity from being prosecuted for child pornography found on his personal computer.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has repeatedly averred that Flores can still be prosecuted for the child pornography, most recently at a Wednesday press conference in which he discussed his office's hard-nosed stance against child pornography. The pornography on Flores' computer was discovered by a forensic computer specialist hired by the defense; despite Montgomery's avowals, his prosecutors filed motions claiming that the pornography discovery on Flores' computer was a violation of Flores' Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.

DeVault's daughter, who was 13 at the time of the murder, testified that her household was "tumultuous," that Harrell was frequently abusive to DeVault -- something that none of the couple's friends and neighbors had seen. The daughter also commented on the infidelities of both of her parents.

The trial itself has been also quietly tumultuous. Judge Roland Steinle removed the jury from the courtroom on numerous occasions to scold the attorneys on both sides of the bench for gamesmanship, including during the cross examination of the daughter when Basta tried to elicit embarrassing personal details about the daughter after failing to get her to admit that DeVault was frequently abusive to her stepfather.


Jury deliberates in murder trial of woman accused of beating her husband with a hammer in attack reminiscent of Jodi Arias case - and the two defendants are friends

  • Marissa Suzanne Devault, 36, charged with first-degree murder in 2009 beating death of Dale Harrell

  • She said years of physical and sexual abuse led her to kill husband

  • Prosecutors said she killed him for the insurance money to repay $300,000 loan from her boyfriend

  • Devault's case has been compared to trial Jodi Arias, 33, who was convicted last May of killing Travis Alexander in Mesa, Arizona

  • Both women claimed self-defense and accused the victims of abuse

By Snejana Farberov -

April 1, 2014

Nearly a year after Jodi Arias was found guilty of brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, an Arizona jury panel is being asked to decide the fate of another woman charged with an eerily similar crime.

Marissa Suzanne Devault, 36, is accused of bludgeoning her husband with a hammer at their Gilbert, Arizona, home in 2009.

She told investigators that Dale Harrell, 34, had physically and sexually abused her in the past, and that she killed him in self-defense.

Prosecutors, however, contend the January 2009 attack on a sleeping Mr Harrell was premeditated and motivated by her desire to obtain an insurance settlement so she could pay back her boyfriend the $300,000 she had borrowed.

They say the 36-year-old Devault has given conflicting accounts of her husband's death and that people who the woman claimed had witnessed some of the past abuse didn't back up her claims.

Harrell died at a hospice nearly a month after the attack of complications from his head injuries.

The case went to the Maricopa County Superior Court jury Monday, two months after the start of the trial, and deliberations resumed this morning.

Devault's case has been compared to the trial of Jodi Arias, who was found guilty of first-degree murder last May for slashing, stabbing and shooting to death Travis Alexander in his Mesa, Arizona, home in June 2008.

Like in the Harrell murder, Arias claimed self-defense, accusing her longtime on-again, off-again lover of being abusive, ABC News reported.

And the similarities between the two women do not end there: the cases were tried in the same Maricopa County courtroom, and both Arias and Devault could face the death penalty.

With their long dark hair and eyeglasses, the two women even look strangely alike.

It has been reported that the 36-year-old Devault befriended the 33-year-old convicted killer while the two were in jail together.

In an interrogation video recorded just hours after the bloody attack, Devault could be seen chuckling as she recounts the events of the night, raising her arm in a motion mimicking hammer blows.

‘I saw a hammer go into Darrell’s head,’ she says with a nervous smile.

Prosecutor Michelle Arino said at the start of the trail in February that Mrs Devault needed quick money to get out of her deep financial hole.

But one of Devault's attorneys raised questions about the credibility of his client's boyfriend, who was given an immunity agreement on child pornography allegations in exchange for his testimony.

Authorities said Devault fatally wounded Dale Harrell by bludgeoning him over the head with a hammer as he slept in their suburban Phoenix home in January 2009.

Harrell, 34, suffered multiple skull fractures and died a month after the attack. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Devault.

Alan Tavassoli, one of Devault's attorneys, said prosecutors are giving a pass to his client's boyfriend, businessman Allen Flores, even after he failed to report to police that Devault had allegedly claimed three days before the hammer attack that her husband had been killed in a tire-iron beating.

At first, Devault told investigators that Harrell had attacked her while she was asleep and choked her until she was unconscious. She told police that when she came to, she saw another man who lived at their Gilbert home beating Harrell with a hammer.

But authorities say blood spatter 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 her head.

Investigators say Devault later confessed, saying she attacked her sleeping husband in a rage after he had sexually assaulted her.

Police said they discovered Devault had been dating another man, Flores, for more than two years. In a search of Flores' computer, police say they found a journal that appeared to be written from his perspective and indicated that he had given Devault about $7,000, which she used to hire a hit man, according to court records.

The prosecution said Devault needed to repay a $294,000 loan from her boyfriend.

Authorities said child pornography also was found on Flores' computer. County prosecutors granted Flores immunity on that allegation in exchange for his testimony in the murder case.



Hammer Attack case: Woman accused of killing husband as he slept

By Mia Garcia - FOX 10 News

February 10, 2014

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- The trial continues for a woman charged with first degree murder. Marissa DeVault is accused of striking her husband with a hammer while he was sleeping.

We want to warn you that some of the pictures are graphic. It was a gory day for the jury Monday as they saw crime scene photos taken right after the attack.

Blood spatter all over the walls and the bloody hammer used in the attack -- DeVault wouldn't look at the photos shown to the jury.

One of the first officers on the scene described DeVault as hysterical when he first got there.

"On the verge of hyperventilating," said Officer Clint Cobbett of the Gilbert Police Department.

He took DeVault to a hospital, where doctors examined her after she said her husband had choked and raped her that night.

"I did note some reddening.. just a slight bit of reddening on her neck," he said.

He may have noticed a little redness, but pictures he took that night show no bruises, marks or scratches on her neck. DeVault's fingernails weren't broken either.

Prosecutors say she attacked her husband with a hammer -- hitting him on the head over and over again while he slept -- to cash in on his million dollar life insurance policy.

Defense attorneys say the bloody hammer proves it was self-defense. They say if DeVault had planned the attack, she would have shot her husband with a gun found inside the house instead of hitting him with a hammer. The loaded gun inside the house was passed around for the jury to see.



home last updates contact