The Hammer Killer

By Jacob Self and Devin Wilson

What Happened

Marissa Devault had been married to Dale Harrell for 9 years. They had a rough marriage, and they often resorted to violence when they had arguments. One night, Devault claimed to have been raped by her husband after having an argument. After the incident, her husband fell asleep, and Marissa Devault got a hammer and bludgeoned him to within an inch of his life.


Blood spatter evidence was the primary source of evidence in the case against Marissa Devault, who was accused of murdering her husband, Dale Harrell, in 2009. The blood spatter from the crime scene indicated that the actions of Devault were very bloody, and blood spatter experts were able to conclude that the suspect swung a hammer back and forth several times, nearly bludgeoning her husband to death. In addition, the blood spatter indicated the velocity of the object that was used, and it was consistent with what experts thought happened. Also, the report from the doctor who operated on Harrell indicated that the attack was done on someone who was not in a position to defend himself. Lastly, Devault initially denied killing her husband, but when more evidence was discovered and a case was formed against her, she admitted to killing him out of self defense.


At the time of the incident, Marissa Devault was in debt, and the life insurance that she could have gained by killing her husband could have been a plausible reason for her actions. In addition, she claimed that they did not have a very good marriage, and often times there was domestic abuse in the relationship.
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Personal Opinions

We think that Marissa Devault is guilty of murder, as the story that she explained did not warrant killing on her part. She explained how he was asleep when she killed him, and it is for that reason that she cannot plead innocent and say that it was out of self defense. Also, she had numerous chances to end the relationship over their 9 year marriage, but she always chose to stay. If someone was truly in danger like she explained, it would not take them much to leave a relationship, and she chose to stay. Also, Devault's story of what happened has changed numerous times, and if her actions were truly out of self defense there would be no reason to change her story. In conclusion, the actions of Marissa Devault were unnecessary, as her life was not at risk during the time of the incident.