Marissa DeVault murder trial shares similarities with Jodi Arias, trial begins Thursday

PHOENIX - On January 14, 2009, Gilbert police said Marissa DeVault grabbed a hammer and beat her sleeping husband repeatedly in the head. He died nearly a month later.

Fast forward five years and DeVault is set to stand trial for the murder.There's evidence her attorneys may try a Battered Women's Syndrome defense.


"It's more of a mental health defense, akin to insanity or, really, you can think of it as PTSD," said criminal defense attorney Scott Halverson who is not affiliated with the case.

Sound familiar?

"You can liken this case to the Jodi Arias case," Halverson said.

They're both young women who claim repeated abuse from the victim led to the crime. They both initially tried to blame someone else, and both could face the death penalty.

"I mean it's interesting. Who knows if this individual, Miss DeVault, followed the Arias trial," Halverson said.

And Halverson said, who knows if the DeVault jurors are familiar with this type of case from watching all of the Arias coverage.

"I think that there's a concern, that the people who are supposed to be fair and impartial and, really, the most important, they're the ones deciding.  You worry that they might be tainted," Halverson said.

Opening statements started Thursday morning.

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