Hammer Killer

By: Madeline King and Sierra Andres

Summary of Case

Marissa Devault was convicted of killing her husband Dale Harrell in January of 2009. The couple had three kids but had a lengthy history of marital problems. Dale had sexually and physically abused Marissa throughout their marriage and Marissa had admitted to having an affair. Marissa killed Dale with a hammer while he was sleeping after he had abused her one night. She said it was in self defense but many thought it was to get insurance money since she was in debt. In April of 2014, the jury decided she was guilty of the murder and she was sentenced life in prison.
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Evidence

Blood Stain patterns were veery important pieces of evidenced used in the case. Marissa Devault changed her story of what happened many times. Her originally story she told the police was her husband beat her and choked her unconscious, later when she awoke she saw a man (their roommate) beating the husband in the bedr room. Since police became suspicious about her story she finally admitted to killing her husband while he was sleeping in self defense from a day before when he beat and sexually assaulted her.


Devault's longtime boyfriend admitted to the crime before she did because he did not like the fact that Harrell beat his girlfriend. But Marissa ended up admitted to crime because evidence did not match up with her boyfriend. Also, Devault had a friend Allen Flores, who confessed to giving her 300,000 dollars over two years because she was in debt.

Self defense or Murder?

We believe that the crime she committed should be considered murder because her husband was sleeping when she attacked him and testimonies from her friend claiming Marissa said she would pay someone to kill her husband or even do it herself if she had to. Even though she was absued by her husband it would only be considered self defense if the husband were abusing her at the time she attacked.