On January 14, 2009, Marissa DeVault killed her husband, Dale Harrell, by striking him multiple times on the head with a hammer. It seemed like a simple case of murder, but questions remained. Was Dale Harrell a hapless, innocent victim of a brutal killing, or was this the final act of a desperate woman who had suffered through years of domestic violence?
The fact that the incident took place in a middle class suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, with the couple’s three children within the property at the time, meant nothing.
The questions for the jury were simple. Was the killing premeditated or was it an act of self defense? Was it done for financial gain? Should the defendant pay for her crime with her life, should she be incarcerated for twenty-five years to life, or should she receive a life sentence with no chance of parole?
Author Paul Sanders was Juror #13 in a trial packed with twists and turns. He sat every day in court, in a trial which got deep inside the day-to-day lives of a family and eventually delivered justice to a victim.
Read this remarkable true story now and make up your own mind as to the truth behind the Hammer Killing Trial.