Judge: Devault to spend rest of natural life in prison
Marissa Devault, shown in court on Friday, June 6, 2014, will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Marissa Devault was convicted in April of first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Dale Harrell. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Marissa Devault, the woman convicted of bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer, will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Judge Roland Steinle made the ruling Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Steinle's ruling came after the victim's family, children of the victim and defendant and attorneys for both sides addressed the court.
A jury sentenced Devault to life in prison for the 2009 bludgeoning of Dale Harrell on April 30.
"Imposing the death penalty in any circumstance is difficult, and in this one the jurors apparently felt that a life sentence was appropriate," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery after the jury's verdict April 30.
The jury deliberated for seven days before finding Devault guilty.
Jurors also found the offense was committed in an especially cruel manner, a sufficient aggravating factor for the imposition of a sentence of death. The penalty phase of the case began April 15 followed by deliberations April 22.
If jurors had decided on a death sentence, she would have become the third woman to serve on Arizona's death row.
Prosecutors said Devault killed Harrell in a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay more than $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend.
Devault claimed she killed Harrell in self-defense and that Harrell had physically and sexually abused her in the past.
Authorities say Devault used a hammer to beat a fist-size hole in Harrell's skull.