Hammer slaying trial: Jurors see videotaped confession

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 10:00 AM

PHOENIX -- The trial for a woman accused of bludgeoning her husband to death with a claw hammer continued Thursday with jurors seeing the tape of her confession.

Marissa Suzanne DeVault, 36, is accused of hitting Dale Harrell over the head repeatedly as he slept in their Gilbert home in January 2009.

DeVault was taken into police custody the night of the attack and interrogated for several hours.

"Tell the girls I love them," DeVault, a mother to three young daughters, said in a phone call to her mother from the interrogation room. "I'm not going to be coming home tonight."

In her interview with Gilbert police, DeVault claimed the couple's roommate, Stan Cook, beat Harrell in her defense. She said her husband had sexually assaulted her.

DeVault showed a range of emotions during the interview, sometimes appearing upset and other times giddy.

But after hours of questioning, DeVault hysterically confessed to attacking Harrell in a rage after the alleged rape.

"I wanted him to know what it felt like," she said. "Who the hell do you go talk to about the fact that you can't stand your husband's body on top of you?"

But she also told a detective she did not mean to kill her husband and didn't remember making the decision to do so.

"I didn't want to have sex with him," she said. "I just kept hitting him."

She said she did not know how many times she hit Harrell.

When police told DeVault she could talk to a lawyer any time, she responded, "I should have asked for an attorney beforehand."

Prosecutors claim DeVault was in a deep financial hole and killed Harrell to obtain an insurance settlement.

A wealthy Valley businessman, whom prosecutors say DeVault dated for more than two years, took the witness stand late Thursday afternoon. He said in his testimony that he loaned DeVault more than $350,000.

If convicted of murder charges, DeVault could face the death penalty.

The trial will resume after a scheduled 10-day break.

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