Sentencing verdict reached in hammer-killing trial

April 30, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors have decided the sentence for an Arizona woman convicted of beating her husband to death with a hammer five years ago.

The same jury that convicted Marissa Devault (dehv-WAH) of first-degree murder determined whether to sentence her to the death penalty or life in prison. The verdict is scheduled to be read Wednesday.

Jurors reached a decision in the penalty phase of Devault's trial after deliberating for a few days.

Prosecutors say Devault killed her husband, Dale Harrell, in a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend.

Devault says she killed him in self-defense and told investigators he had physically and sexually abused her in the past.

Harrell died nearly a month after the January 2009 attack.