their three daughters, Rhiannon-Skye DeVault Harrell, 13, her middle sister and younger 6-year-old sister when horror enveloped their home.
The children were all sleeping, when at 2:45 am on January 14, 2009, the Gilbert, Arizona police department responded to a 911 call from Marissa DeVault.
They found DeVault, in her driveway, covered with blood and hysterical. They also found her husband Dale, bludgeoned and bloodied, writhing on the floor next to their blood-soaked bed.
The side of Dale’s face, and skull, were crushed by a claw hammer. He was transported to the hospital and died three weeks later when Harrell’s family removed him from life support.At first, Ms. DeVault admitted to killing her husband, claiming it was in self-defense. She said that Dale raped her and choked her to near unconsciousness. She told the police that Harrell had abused her for years.
DeVault said, Stan Cook, a friend of hers who was living with the family, took the hammer from her hand. She was arrested and released on bail. Her bail was posted by her lover, and “sugar daddy”, Dr. Allen Flores, 56. Flores was a successful businessman with an MBA from Yale and a doctorate from the University of London.
DeVault had begun the affair with Flores two years earlier after they met on SeekingArrangement.com, which calls itself the “Elite Sugar Daddy Dating Site for those Seeking Mutually Beneficial Relationships & Mutually Beneficial Arrangements.”
During the following two-year relationship, DeVault claimed she was in trouble. And, in order to help her, Dr.Flores, who had fallen in love with DeVault, began to lend her money.
In order to cover-up her affair with Flores, DeVault told family and friends that he was her dead stepfather’s gay lover. And this was despite the fact that her stepfather was neither gay, nor dead.
DeVault used the money from Flores for everything from clothing to vacations. Vacations on which her naive husband joined her.
DeVault continued to promise to pay Flores back with trust funds and insurance payments that she was supposedly due. Always the businessman, Flores agreed to continue to help her financially but, he kept a detailed account of the money he loaned to DeVault, factoring in 30% interest.When reparation was not forthcoming from DeVault, Flores began to insist on repayment, and this is when, in early January 2009, DeVault contacted an old boyfriend named Travis Tatro. She knew him from her days as a stripper with the stage name of “Reesie Cup.” She told him she was getting “smacked around” and asked him if he knew someone who could “take care of” her husband.
Tatro refused to help and later testified that he didn’t believe DeVault’s story about Harrell’s alleged abuse because when he first met Harrell, “He put his hand out to shake my hand and I told him I don’t shake hands with woman-beating-pieces-of-(profanity), he stepped back like he didn’t know what I was talking about.”
When Tatro refused to help, DeVault decided to take out a large insurance policy on her husband and make Flores the executor. DeVault talked to Flores about killing her “abusive” husband before she purchased the policy. When she told him about the insurance policy, Flores told her that if she had anything to do with an attack on her husband, that she would not collect.
One week later Dale Harrell was dead.
Once DeVault was released on bail, she and Flores hatched a plan to blame the killing of her husband on Stan Cook, who suffered from brain damage and memory loss.
Flores helped edit Cook’s confession letter which claimed he struck Dale Harrell while defending Ms. DeVault. Flores then drove DeVault to the police station to deliver Cook’s confession. Flores also spoke to the news media on DeVault’s behalf.
But then, during a forensic investigation of Flores’ computer, child pornography was discovered. Now, not only could he be charged as an accessory to murder but he could be charged with the possession of child pornography as well.Instead, Flores turned states witness and as granted limited immunity by both the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney in Phoenix.
Flores would become the key witness for the prosecution. DeVault’s trial began in early February in Maricopa County Superior Court. The prosecutors would seek the death penalty for Ms. DeVault.
During the trial Flores was painted as a victim. When asked by the prosecutor how a shrewd businessman could have been so completely conned, he replied, “I loved her, she was in trouble. I was trying to help.” Flores also testified that DeVault wanted to hire someone to kill Harrell, or kill him herself and then tell police he tried to rape her after a night of drinking.Members of Harrell’s family packed the courtroom. Four members of his family told the court that Dale Harrell loved his killer/wife “with all his heart.” Although DeVault’s daughters claimed their father did abuse their mother, no one else could be found to corroborate their statements.
Rebecca Mott, a member of Dale Harrell’s family, would testify, “She doesn’t deserve to walk free ever… she deserves to spend the rest of her natural life behind bars, she took Dale’s freedom away. She took her daughter’s freedom away from them, and she deserves to have her freedom taken away from her.”
On April 30, 2014, after deliberating for seven days, the jury found DeVault guilty of first degree murder in the death of her husband, Dale Harrell, and sentenced her to life in prison.Luckily, Judge Roland Steinle was the presiding judge, rather than a liberated, radical feminist, who would have been happy to reduce DeVault’s sentence for killing her husband. Instead, despite the tearful pleas from her three daughters to reduce the sentence to parole in 25 years, Judge Steinle sentenced DeVault to her natural life in prison without parole.
Judge Steinle said he did not reduce her sentence because, “I’ve listened very carefully to the girls,” Steinle said, adding later, “but the circumstances of this crime are so horrific and were done for nothing but greed.” “She’s very manipulative. She will continue to be manipulative,” Steinle said. “And she knows how to turn it on and turn it off.” The judge went on to say that he believed that DeVault had manipulated her daughter’s testimony as well.
Dale Harrell’s life can never be renewed. His family, and daughters, will never completely recover from his horrific death but at least, the amoral, radical, third-wave psycho-bitch, will never be allowed to lie, manipulate, coax, cajole, cheat or use her heartless, sexually explicit, behavior to destroy another person’s life again. And for that, everyone should be grateful to Judge Steinle for his sound judgement in this case.