PHOENIX (AP) — A jury has found an Arizona woman guilty of first-degree murder for fatally bludgeoning her husband with a hammer as he lay asleep in bed.
The verdict handed down Tuesday against Marissa Devault (dehv-WAH) in her husband's 2009 death sets the stage for prosecutors to urge jurors to sentence her to death.
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 her husband 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 from complications related to his head injuries.