Phoenix Hammer Murder Trial Mirrors Jodi Arias

Marissa Devault claims self-defense, while crime scene photos show little evidence of struggle.
3:00 | 04/01/14

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Transcript for Phoenix Hammer Murder Trial Mirrors Jodi Arias
sensational murder trial in Phoenix. It's being cared composite the Jodi Arias case. A mother of three accused of bludgeoning her husband to death and claiming domestic abuse. ABC's Ryan smith is tracking this case. Reporter: Today in Arizona, in the same courthouse where the closely watched Jodi Arias murder trial unfolded, a jury is now mulling the case of another young woman with eerily similar circumstances. And so how many times do you think you hit him? I don't know. Reporter: That's 36-year-old Marissa Ya Dubois, accused of using a hammer to kill her husband while he slept in January 2009 and pleaded not guilty claiming self-defense claiming abuse from him. Almost the same from Jodi Arias convicted last year for brutally killing her longtime lover Travis Alexander. The simple answer he attacked me and I defended myself. Reporter: Prosecutors are painting Devault as a cold calculated killer pointing to her interrogation tape made hours after the killing where she's seen laughing awkwardly about the events of that night. I just hit him. Reporter: And to pictures like these perfectly manicured nails and light bruising show little evidence of a struggle. Prosecutors say her motive was life insurance money to pay back her alleged sugar daddy from whom she borrowed around $300,000. Now her fate is in the hands of the jury and just like Jodi Arias who she reportedly befriended in jail she could face the death penalty if convicted. For "Good morning America," Ryan smith, ABC news, New York. All right, so let's bring in our chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams for more on this and the defense seems to be relying on solely on claims of domestic abuse, a lot of evidence says otherwise. Don't you think, her story has changed. There's stories of looking for an insurance policy. Not a particularly strong defense. The best defense she's had so far with regard to abuse has been from other own dghter testifying that she heard it, that she actually was standing right Jo out side the room as it was happening on a regular basis but, remember, the defense here is self-defense. So she still has to demonstrate in some way, I mean or at least the prosecution still has the burden of proof but when it comes to self-defense, you've got to present something. You got to say there was something that happened. Wasn't he sleeping? Yeah, well, that's the issue, right? So that's what the prosecution says. So this is a harder defense than just to say, oh, she is presenting evidence of abuse and, therefore, that's the defense. It's really not enough. She's got to be able to say that he was in the act of attacking her and that she needed to do what she did. Yeah. There's a lot of comparisons between this case and the Jodi Arias case and it's a strange twist of fate, you must admit, these women have become friends. Amazing and the cases are very similar in terms of the defense, in terms of the lack of evidence of abuse. Here at least she has a witness, her daughter. In the Jodi Arias case there was not a single witness apart from Jodi Arias herself who was claiming the abuse. But, and, again, I would argue that in this case like in the Jodi Arias case, if there were a conviction on second degree murder, it would be a win for the defendant. I think her attorney is hoping not that he's going to actually get a not guilty verdict here. I think he's hoping for a second degree murder conviction and that would be a win All right, Dan, I know you'll be watching this for us. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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