Hammer Case

Muriel Primo


It think it was most likely a murder because there were no reported attacks from Devault that her husband had attacked her physically or sexually before, so there is no way to tell if she was telling the truth or making that up to cover for herself. There were also no signs of her husband attacking her before she killed him such as bruises or scratch marks.


Blood spatter is the main piece of evidence in the case that is talked about in the video. There were three different types of blood spatter, medium velocity blood spatter from a blunt force object, cast off blood spatter from the object being swung back, and a passive stain that is consistent with holding an object and having it drop blood on a surface. Those three can prove that Devault was at the crime scene by collecting DNA evidence from the hammer, checking on clothing for medium velocity blood spatter and the lack of spatter in a certain location on the wall where she would have been standing.

Summary of Case

January 2009 in Arizona, Marissa Devault was charged with the murder of her husband, Dale Harrell. Harrell had severe head injuries from a hammer attack and died a few weeks later at a hospital. Devault claims it was self-defense. Her reason for attacking her husband was that she killed him from anger after he abused her physically and sexually on multiple occasions. But she had changed her story various times. She originally told police someone else attacked her husband, but when police challenged her claims, she confessed to the alleged slaying.