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Closing Arguments Soon in Marriott Murder Trial

Seth Mazzaglia is on trial for the murder of Elizabeth Marriott.

Accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia, shown here during a break in the trial last week. Credit: WMUR.com
Accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia, shown here during a break in the trial last week. Credit: WMUR.com
DOVER, N.H. – The defense for accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia called two witnesses Monday as it presented its case ahead of closing arguments possibly later this week.

Defense attorneys have argued Mazzaglia's ex-girlfriend Kathryn McDonough was responsible for Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott's death on Oct. 9, 2012, before she and Mazzaglia dumped her body into the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth. McDonough previously testified that Mazzaglia strangled and raped Marriott.

Jurors in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover, N.H., heard June 23 from two witnesses:
  • Lisa Greenwaldt, an investigator for the New Hampshire Public Defender's office, who interviewed McDonough days after Marriott's death.
  • Dr. Ira J. Kanfer, a Medical Examiner for the state of Connecticut, who reviewed the case files and discussed asphyxiation and medical issues related to strangulation.
State prosecutor Peter Hinckley questioned Greenwaldt on the interviews with McDonough, including references to a consensual sexual act, which were not recorded in the initial interview.

Defense attorney Joachim Barth asked Greenwaldt whether she had anticipated what McDonough was going to say during that first interview.

"Oh, my God, no," Greenwaldt replied. "I wish I had recorded it. I really do."

Greenwaldt, in another exchange with Barth, testified that McDonough had said that she put duct tape on Marriott. 

The defense has tried to impeach McDonough's credibility based, in part, on her different accounts of what transpired on Oct. 9, 2012. One of those early accounts was that Marriott died during consensual sex, and that McDonough, Marriott and Mazzaglia had been engaged in an act of bondage and sadomasochism.

Kanfer, who said he has conducted more than 4,000 autopsies over 29 years, testified about asphyxia and suffocation. "Oxygen for all of us is like gas for the car," he said.

Kanfer testified that a homicidal ligature strangulation, similar to what McDonough described occurring, is rare.

The forensic pathology reviewed on the witness stand covered the past sworn statements and testimony. The body of Marriott, who was 19 and a freshman student at the University of New Hampshire at the time of her disappearance and death, has not been found.

State vs. Seth Mazzaglia resumes June 24 at 10 a.m.

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