Marissa DeVault Trial Update: 2009 Hammer Slaying Trial Begins, Prosecutors Say Devault Killed Husband for Money
- Selena Hill
- Feb 07, 2014 10:07 AM EST
The Marissa DeVault trial in Arizona bears a striking resemblance to the infamous Jodi Arias murder case.
Arias, a 33-year-old California native, was convicted of first-degree murder in May fo 2013 in the ghastly 2008 death of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix, Ariz. home. Although she claimed that she killed him because he was abusive, she was found guilty and could be sentenced to death or life in prison in her upcoming retrial.
Like Arias, DeVault, 36, is also facing the death penalty for the brutal murder of her husband Dale Harrell, who she claims was physically and sexually abusive to her in the past.
At the start of her trial Thursday, prosecutors claimed that DeVault bludgeoned her husband to death with a hammer while he was sleeping in order to collect his insurance policy and help pay off a $300,000 loan from her secret boyfriend.
"The defendant likes money, and she likes easy money," said prosecutor Michelle Arino during opening statements at the Maricopa County Superior Court, according to the Associated Press.
Harrell, 34, suffered multiple skull fractures and died at a hospice from his head injuries nearly a month after the January 2009 attack.
While DeVault claims she killed her husband in self-defense, prosecutors argue that the murder was premeditated.
Police say they discovered DeVault had been dating Allen Flores for more than two years. While searching Flores' computer, they discovered 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. Authorities say child pornography also was found on Flores' computer, but he was granted full immunity in exchange for testifying in the case, reports AZ Central.
In addition to the nature of the case, DeVault is described as "petite and pretty, like Arias, with glasses and wavy auburn hair that reaches well down the middle of her back." Furthermore, DeVault and Arias have reportedly become friends in jail.