Hammer slaying trial: Former family nanny speaks out

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By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman

GILBERT, Ariz. -- The former friend and family nanny of the woman suspected of killing her husband with a claw hammer said she believes the suspect is guilty of premeditated murder.

Marissa DeVault, 36, is accused of killing 34-year-old Dale Harrell while he slept in their Gilbert home in January 2009.

DeVault has claimed she acted in self-defense because Harrell tried to rape her, but prosecutors say she killed her husband for an insurance settlement.

Valley resident Amy Dewey sat down with 3TV’s Mike Watkiss for an exclusive interview, saying she believed DeVault killed her husband for the money.

"I think that if she didn’t do it to Dale, she would’ve done it to somebody else," she said.

Dewey said she was a friend of the couple and lived with them for a few months as a nanny and housekeeper. Harrell was caring, she said, and concerned with everyone living in the home.

"I was a stranger, essentially, to him," she said, "but he was good enough to let me live there when I needed a place to go and took care of all of us."

DeVault has said in court that Harrell was physically and sexually abusive. Dewey said the only abusive behavior she saw was from DeVault toward Harrell and others.

"In fact, she would come home and try to pick a fight with him and start stuff," Dewey said. "He would just tell her, 'I don’t want to fight with you. I love you. Let’s just work this out. Let’s talk it out.' "

Dewey ended all contact with DeVault because of verbal abuse, including one instance in which DeVault allegedly said Harrell dreamed of killing the nanny with a hammer.

DeVault’s trial is on a scheduled break for the next week and a half.