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AP | File
In this April 8 photo, Marissa Devault looks at the jury members as they are polled after finding her guilty of first degree murder. (The Arizona Republic | Tom Tingle)

Wife sentenced to life in hammer killing

PHOENIX – A jury has sentenced an Arizona woman to life in prison for beating her husband to death with a hammer, sparing her from the death penalty.

The decision Wednesday in the penalty phase of Marissa Devault’s trial comes after the jury deliberated for about three days since April 22.

The same jury that convicted her of first-degree murder April 8 could have sent her to death row for the January 2009 slaying of Dale Harrell.

Prosecutors said Devault killed Harrell in a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend.

Devault said she killed him in self-defense and claims he had physically and sexually abused her in the past.

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

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