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home : news : regional December 17, 2014

After murder charge, defendant talked of marriage

DOVER, N.H. (AP) -- Less than two weeks after he was charged with killing a University of New Hampshire student, Seth Mazzaglia was talking to his girlfriend about getting married.

Jurors in Mazzaglia's first-degree murder trial heard a recorded jailhouse conversation between the 31-year-old defendant and then-18-year-old Kathryn McDonough in which Mazzaglia regrets a wedding ceremony couldn't be marked with a little more pomp and circumstance.

Mazzaglia is charged with raping and strangling 19-year-old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, on Oct. 9, 2012, at the Dover apartment he shared with McDonough after Marriott rejected his sexual advances. Police say he and McDonough then dumped the body in a river. Marriott, who was from Westborough, Massachusetts, would have turned 21 Tuesday. Her body has never been found.

Defense attorney Joachim Barth, in his fourth day cross-examining McDonough, continued to try to undermine the credibility of the state's star witness.

He pointed out that, when asked during grand jury testimony last year whether she had anything she wanted to tell Marriott's family, she replied, "She got into a bad situation."

Barth contrasted that with her sobbing statement of remorse last week, when she said, "Because of us she never got to live her life."

McDonough testified Tuesday that she has been "at a loss for words" to describe her emotions since Marriott died.

"I don't know what to say," she said Tuesday. "I don't think any words I could say could ever fix the situation."

McDonough originally told defense investigators that she and Marriott were engaged in rough sex involving restraints when Marriott died.

After being granted immunity from prosecution for any role she played in Marriott's death, McDonough said Mazzaglia strangled Marriott from behind after she twice rebuffed his sexual advances. She said he then raped her motionless body.

McDonough agreed with Barth's assertions that she lied to police, Mazzaglia's defense team, another witness and Mazzaglia, but stressed she is not lying to jurors.

McDonough pleaded guilty to conspiracy, hindering the prosecution and witness tampering. She is serving 1-1/2 to 3 years in prison as part of a plea deal conditioned on her testimony against Mazzaglia. Tuesday marked her sixth day on the witness stand, and she is expected to return Wednesday.

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