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Closing arguments set in Phoenix hammer-killing trial

PHOENIX — Lawyers are scheduled to make closing arguments Thursday in the
trial of an Arizona woman accused of fatally bludgeoning her husband with a
hammer in 2009.

Marissa Suzanne Devault claimed she killed her husband, Dale Harrell,
in self-defense and told investigators that Harrell had physically and sexually
abused her in the past.

Prosecutors contended the January 2009 attack on Harrell was premeditated.

They said Devault has given conflicting accounts of her husband’s death and that
people who Devault claimed had witnessed some of the past abuse didn’t back up
her claims.

Harrell died at a hospice nearly a month after the attack of complications from
his head injuries.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Devault.

The trial began in early February.


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