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Arias & Devault: Maricopa County Killers

A graphic and bloody crime scene.

Maricopa County, Arizona.

A man blugeoned to death.

The accused: his wife.

Her defense: a pattern of physical and sexual abuse.

Sound familiar?

devault arias

This trial is not about Jodi Arias. Instead, one that is eerily similar. Prosecutors say 36-year old Marissa Devault killed Dale Harrell in January of 2009 by repeatedly hitting him over the head with a hammer as he slept.

Prosecutors say the motive was to obtain life insurance money to help get out of debt. They also presented evidence of an affair between Devault and another man.

Now, we’re hearing from Devault in her own words. Interrogation tapes were released at trial shot just hours after she killed her husband.

HLN’s “Now: On the Case” looks at the Arias comparisons and breaks down Devault’s body language.

Hammer Killer Case: Blood Spatter Experiment

devault courtThe night her husband was attacked, Marissa Devault had multiple stories about what happened. None put the hammer in her hand.

The blood evidence told a different tale and eventually led Devault to confess.

“On the Case” asked Joseph Scott Morgan, Distinguished Scholar of Applied Forensics at Jacksonville State University, to conduct a blood spatter experiment to help us all understand evidence room science.

Hammer Killer – Stiletto Killer… GUILTY!!!

One woman used a rusty hammer. The other: a size 9 stiletto.

Both found guilty of murder on the same day.

After six days of deliberations, a jury in Maricopa County, Arizona, found Marissa Devault guilty of murdering her husband, Dale Harrell, bashing his skull in with a hammer as he slept.

devault husband

ana trujilloProsecutors say she planned the attack to pay off a $300,000 debt. Devault argued the killing was self-defense after years of what she claimed was physical and sexual abuse.

That same jury will now decide if Devault will live or die for her crime.

Meantime, in Houston, Texas, it took a jury just a few hours to render its verdict in the Ana Trujillo case: Guilty!

Trujillo bludgeoned her boyfriend, Alf Stefan Andersson, to death with a blue stiletto striking him at least 25 times.

The defense argued that she was a victim of domestic violence. The jury didn’t see it that way.

The sentencing phase is now underway. Trujillo faces up to life in prison.

Devault vs. Arias: Who made the better plea?

devault tearsLife or death.

That’s what jurors in The Hammer Killing Case must decide.

Marissa Devault sobbed in open court on Thursday during the penalty phase of her trial. Jurors already found her guilty of first-degree murder and determined that the killing was done in an extremely cruel manner.

So now, it’s either life in prison or a lethal injection.

Devault asked the jury to spare her, apologized to her husband’s family and wept about the future of her three daughters.

“For our kids, there is absolutely no way to explain,” she said. “To make sense of this situation, and I’m truly sorry for that, I’m supposed to protect you… and instead I hurt you – and I brought them awful experiences and I failed them. I raised you in a destructive house and this has just added. I don’t expect forgiveness from them, but I love them, and I’m so sorry that they have to look at themselves in the mirror everyday and remember because this – because they carry us in them.”

arias court glassesSadly, Maricopa County has seen this kind of drama before. Jodi Arias also begged jurors for mercy. Ultimately, they deadlocked on her fate and the penalty phase in her case is scheduled to be re-tried later this year.

HLN’s “Now: On the Case” breaks down the Devault and Arias allocutions: you decide who made a better plea.

Written and produced by: Ben Bamsey for HLN’s “Now: On the Case.”

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