Marissa Suzanne DeVault

Marissa DeVault
Crime: Murder

This is a long, convoluted story and I’ve done my best to sort it out.

Dale Harrell, 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, didn’t stand a chance. On January 14, 2009 his wife and the mother of his children, Marissa Suzanne DeVault, decided he must die. And she did her level best to make that happen as horrifically and brutally as possible.

Dale Harrell’s 9-year marriage to Marissa Suzanne DeVault was turbulent. They fought verbally and physically, often in front of the kids. It was not a happy home.

Other people were brought into the Harrell home. Amy Dewey, a college friend of Marissa DeVault, lived with the couple for 4 months and looked after the children.

Amy Dewey was not impressed with Marissa DeVault’s mothering skills. According to her, Marissa DeVault was “manipulative, a bad mother, a bad wife and controlling”. As well, Amy Dewey considered that Marissa DeVault would instigate fights with her husband and overall treated him terribly.

Stanley Cook, a malleable fellow who suffered brain damage and memory difficulties from a motorcycle accident, moved in later. He may have been Marissa DeVault’s lover, but he was definitely her defender. The kids called him Uncle Stan.

Allen Flores

Allen Flores

I doubt that Dale Harrell knew about his wife’s infidelity — and I’m not talking about Stanley Cook here. In 2007, Marissa DeVault hooked up with Allen Flores through a website that arranges relationships between “sugar daddies” and women in financial need.

Marissa DeVault told Dale Harrell and family friends that Allen Flores was her stepfather’s gay lover. The friends bought into that story so likely Dale Harrell bought into it too. Poor sap.

Marissa DeVault was a chronic liar so I’m not surprised that she’d blatantly lied to Allen Flores about her financial situation. She told him she was expecting $20 million from her deceased stepfather (a man who wasn’t dead and much less wealthy). And on the strength of that lie, Allen Flores lent his much younger f*ck buddy $362,000. He fully expected to be paid back in 2009. In fact, Allen Flores put the loans in writing and even added a 2.5% interest rate.

Allen Flores might have lousy taste in girlfriends, but he didn’t mess about with his money. He ensured he had a paper trail.

Allen Flores had also put in writing on his computer that he’d handed over $7,000 for Marissa DeVault to hire a hit man to kill her husband. Wow.

I’m sure Allen Flores wasn’t too surprised that Marissa DeVault wanted a hit man. She’d been busy telling him, and everyone else who would listen, how her hubby had been abusing her for years. Funny thing is, nobody ever saw any marks on her that would indicate she was abused.

I do not know if the hit man payoff money was included in the $362,000 Marissa DeVault owed Allen Flores. Oh, we mustn’t forget the $9050 she owed in interest, so the final amount would, by my math, be $371,050.

Now you know and I know there was no $20 million payout pending. How the hell was Marissa DeVault going to pay back such a huge amount to her sugar daddy? Hmmmm.

Dale Harrell

Dale Harrell

On January 1, 2009, Marissa DeVault took out a life insurance policy on her husband for $500,000. *shock* The woman hadn’t been paying her utility bills and had let her mortgage lapse but she made damn sure she could pay for that life insurance policy.

(Just an aside: what the hell happened to that $362,000? What did she spend it on? How do you make $362,000 evaporate in just 2 years? The miser inside me is shrieking in horror.)

Now back to our story — and you know where this is going. Dale Harrell had only 13 more days of healthy living ahead of him.

Marissa DeVault didn’t want to wait 13 days. After she got the insurance policy set up, she approached an ex-boyfriend, Travis Tatro, to ask him to “take care of” her abusive husband.

Now Travis Tatro was more than a bit surprised. Not that Marissa DeVault’s husband was abusive — she’d told him about that ever since she got married. No, Travis Tatro was surprised that Dale Harrell was alive still. Marissa DeVault had told him that her husband had died of stomach cancer!

I told you the woman was a chronic liar.

“Once I found out that someone come back from the dead was slapping her around, we parted ways,” Travis Tatro said. And so he did not “take care of” Dale Harrell.

To do Travis Tatro justice, he is not a hit man. He looks tough and he probably is tough but I gather he’s the sort who would confront a man directly to straighten him out. He is not a sneaky assassin type.

So what’s a girl to do? Marissa DeVault needed her husband dead so she could collect the insurance money but she had nobody else to do the killing. Turns out she didn’t need anybody else.

On January 14, 2009, Marissa DeVault called 911 to report that her husband had choked her and assaulted her. Riiiight.

When the police arrived at the Harrell home in the 2100 block of East Maplewood Street in Gilbert, they found poor Dale Harrell barely alive in his bed with his skull shattered from repeated blows of a claw hammer.

A claw hammer! Holy shitballs, batman, the bitch meant business!

It was a gruesome scene with blood splattered everywhere. I’m surprised Dale Harrell was still breathing.

Marissa DeVault had her story ready. She told the police that her husband had attacked her while she was sleeping — that he’d choked her until she lost consciousness! And when she regained consciousness, she saw her housemate Stanley Cook coming to her rescue, beating her monstrous husband with a hammer!

Oh my, what a story! A real thriller! Too bad the bloodstain patterns told a different story. They told the story of a man alone in bed when he was attacked. The blood on her clothes plainly showed that Marissa DeVault had been the attacker.

Stanley Cook did his part and confessed to the police that he’d hit Dale Harrell after he saw him hurting Marissa DeVault. The police didn’t believe him.

Marissa DeVault was arrested and booked into jail that very day on suspicion of aggravated assault.

InterrogationWithin hours of having beaten her husband nearly to death, Marissa DeVault was regaling the police with stories — how her husband was controlling, and how he physically and sexually abused her for years and years.

Marissa DeVault told the detectives that her husband had choked and raped her, and after that she snapped. She grabbed a convenient hammer from the bedside table (who the hell keeps a freaking hammer beside their bed?) and struck her sleeping husband in the head.

It was totally self-defense, said Marissa DeVault.

Luckily for her, Allen Flores bailed her out of jail, got her a lawyer, and blithely carried on with their affair.

Poor Dale Harrell survived emergency brain surgery. He tenaciously clung to life until February 9, 2009. That’s when the unfortunate man succumbed to complications of his injuries and died at the age of 34.

On that very same day Marissa DeVault claimed she’d been assaulted while jogging by a strange man who had broken her ankle and her jaw.

WTF was going on?!?!

Turns out that the life insurance policy that was taken out on Dale Harrell was for ACCIDENTAL death only. The poor man’s death was anything but an accident! Bummer!

And the money was still owing.

On the same day that Marissa DeVault took out insurance on her doomed husband, she had also taken out insurance on herself. If she were incapacitated, she’d get a payout.

Stanley Cook, her handy dandy assistant, wouldn’t agree to shoot her. Instead he agreed to beat her up. Marissa DeVault took pain pills first, and then Stanley Cook obligingly pummeled her face with his fists and smashed her ankle with a sledgehammer. He then drove her to a nearby field, deposited her in some mud and then drove off.

I don’t know if Marissa DeVault really thought this whole thing out. I have my doubts. Did she really believe anyone would believe that hours after her husband died she went jogging all by herself? And got attacked?

Marissa DeVaultHer antics didn’t even buy Marissa DeVault any sympathy from authorities. With Dale Harrell now dead, the police arrested Marissa DeVault again, this time for murder.

Turns out the police had discovered that Marissa DeVault had a lover. And huge debts. And an insurance policy. They weren’t buying the whole self-defense story at all. It looked to them like she murdered her husband in order to get her hands on $500,000. It looked to them like she was a cold-hearted killer.

And how cold-hearted was she? Well, on March 26, 2009, Dale Harrell’s grieving parents had to file a lawsuit seeking custody of their son’s remains. Marissa DeVault had refused to hand them over for burial. That’s just mean.

Investigators also checked out Allen Flores. They found he was a successful businessman who was 20-some years older than Marissa DeVault. They also *surprise* found child porn on his computer — the same computer where he’d written about the $7,000 for the hit man.

This muddied the judicial waters somewhat. Allen Flores was not charged for the child porn in return for his testimony against his murderous girlfriend.

In February 2014, Marissa DeVault went to trial for the murder of her husband. The prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle was determined that it not turn into a Jodi Arias kind of sensationalist trial, and refused to let the proceedings be diverted by the child porn or by Marissa DeVault’s previous occupation as a stripper.

InterrogationThe jury got to watch the police tapes of Marissa DeVault talking 15 hours after she’d called 911. It was a lot of talking. And bizarrely, Marissa DeVault was laughing and smiling throughout her interrogation. She was way too cheerful for someone who’d just been choked and raped by her husband, and who’d retaliated by bashing his head in with a hammer. As well, she was remarkably blemish-free for someone who was attacked — no visible bruises, no scratches, no marks, no broken fingernails.

The murderous woman told investigators how she was pregnant when her husband first beat her. She told how she’d been punched in the head and suffered a fractured skull. She talked about how he’d once shoved her so hard her shoulder popped out of its socket. She talked about how he’d thrown her onto the driveway and kicked her.

Yup, Marissa DeVault talked and talked and talked on those tapes. She did a very thorough job of painting her victim as a horribly abusive man.

Trouble was, all those people she said witnessed his abuse said they didn’t. All those people she said saw her injuries said they didn’t. There was no documentation of her alleged injuries. No friends or neighbours came forward to substantiate her claims.

Stanley Cook, the one person who might have witnessed the final attack, has that brain injury. He said he simply couldn’t remember.

Only one person did step forward to say she’d witnessed violence in her home, and that was Marissa DeVault’s oldest child. She said she saw both her parents engaged in physical fighting. She spoke of how she and her siblings barricaded their bedroom doors during those fights. She gave an instance of Dale Harrell throwing Marissa DeVault into a glass table. She did say her mother had hit Dale Harrell but not as often as he had hit her.

Amy Dewey, who had lived with the family for 4 months, testified that the victim was “sweet, goofy, random and he loved Marissa”.

For the defense, psychologist Cheryl Karp testified. According to her, Marissa DeVault suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. She also said she could lapse into psychotic episodes and disassociate from reality.

When all was said and done (and I’m severely shortening the whole courtroom saga), the jury found Marissa DeVault guilty of 1st-degree murder. She was determined to be eligible for the death sentence.

The trial of Marissa DeVault is currently in its penalty phase. At best she could get life in prison, at worst she could be executed. I shall keep readers posted (reminders are welcome!).

RIP, Dale Harrell. I extend sincerest condolences to those who loved and miss him.

For the 3 children of Marissa DeVault I wish all the best. I hope and pray they live lives full of happiness, success and love. I sincerely hope they get all the support they need as they go through life without their dad and their mom.

And for Allen Flores, you got lucky with your child porn stash. I hope that the authorities are watching you very closely.

UPDATE

She received a life sentence without parole. Thanks to reader Nathan for the update.

Huffington Post article
660News article
Times Colonist article
Arizona Central article – psychologist testifies
Daily Mail article
Arizona Central article – DeVault tapes
The Trial Divas article
Arizona Central article – hit man
Interrogation photos courtesy of Fox10 News

7 Responses to Marissa Suzanne DeVault

  1. moodymagic says:

    This is one sick twisted evil bitch. I hope the kids are safe and being well taken care of free of their disgusting mother. I am relieved De Vault was stupid thinking her plan would work.What a selfish b…. I guess Flores doesn’t have to worry about getting his money back.

  2. 2cute says:

    I feel bad for those kids growing up in such a dysfunctional home. I hope they have good lives now. And I hope Marissa has a lousy life now. I have to wonder how she could spend all that money without her husband knowing. Was she a gambler maybe?

  3. awesomeblossom says:

    She killed her husband for nothing? She got the wrong kind of life insurance? OMFG how stupid could she get?!!?!?!?!? Instead of killing her husband and trying to maim herself for insurance money why didn’t she just find another sugar daddy?

  4. bulldoggy says:

    That pic of her SMILING while she said she saw the hammer go into Dale’s head just blows me away. That’s the face of evil right there.

  5. BENGALPUSS says:

    Stanley cook must have had a severe brain injury to be banging lizzie borden, she liked swinging hammers and an axe, cleo if i wasn’t suffering from a bad case of toothache, i would of laughed at some of your article, and that arseole murderess didn’t do herself any favours by laughing and grinning through the interview. but you couldn’t make this shite up, the slack twat fucked up on the insurance policy, accidental death lol, i pissed myself laughing when i read that, talk about dumb arse, she couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.

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