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Mazzaglia ex-girlfriend insists, 'It's just me trying to tell the truth'

Union Leader Correspondent

June 11. 2014 8:35PM
Prosecution witness Kathryn “Kat” McDonough, former live-in girlfriend of accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia (foreground), is shown in a video played in court during Mazzaglia's trial Wednesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
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Kathryn “Kat” McDonough testified Wednesday that she was afraid accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia would try to hurt or kill her if she called for help as she witnessed the strangling of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, 19.

But public defender Joachim Barth suggested a different version of events.

“You went over to the window to hide what you had just done,” said Barth, who has accused McDonough, 20, of killing Marriott through suffocation during a night of rough sex.

“You did not go in the opposite direction, toward the door,” Barth said. “Your instincts for survival did not prompt you to scream out the open window as you stood in front of it ... Your instincts for survival did not prompt you to try to get the attention of neighbors directly across the river.”

McDonough said she was afraid Mazzaglia would harm her.

“There were so many weapons in there,” McDonough said, referring to the swords, ropes, machetes and martial arts staffs in the Dover apartment she shared with her former boyfriend. “(Mazzaglia) was a sensei; he obviously knew how to fight.”

Mazzaglia, 31, faces first- and second-degree murder charges in the Oct. 9, 2012, death of Marriott, who was from Westborough, Mass.

According to testimony, Marriott died after a game of strip poker.

For more than an hour Wednesday afternoon, Mazzaglia’s defense played a video of a visit McDonough made to Barth’s law office on Oct. 17, 2012, after Mazzaglia was arrested Oct. 13. McDonough has said she visited the office while she and Mazzaglia were seeking legal consultation.

In the video, McDonough went through and made corrections to a summary statement she had given to Barth’s legal team, describing sexual activities with Marriott on the night of Marriott’s death. McDonough appeared at ease, smiling and laughing several times while talking with an investigator.

She said in the video that Marriott kissed both her and Mazzaglia that night. McDonough used hand gestures to describe how she touched Marriott while Marriott was on top of her. At one point in the video, McDonough stood up to demonstrate how she straddled Marriott.

During the trial, McDonough has denied that Marriott was involved in any sexual activity that night, and has said that she lied to Barth and his investigators, telling a story she and Mazzaglia had concocted to protect Mazzaglia.

Wednesday, after the video was shown, Barth said: “You seem quite different in your demeanor and your willingness to simply answer questions in a straightforward manner, now, in this courtroom ... compared to (the video). Do you agree with that?”

McDonough said “yeah,” but then disagreed with Barth’s characterization of her demeanor, saying: “I don’t think I look very relaxed.”

Barth attempted to clarify with McDonough that, according to her statements, she was lying in the video and lied to other investigators following Marriott’s death, but was telling the truth Wednesday and throughout the trial.

“Is this you?” Barth asked McDonough facetiously, referring to McDonough’s presence in court.

“It’s just me trying to tell the truth as best I can,” McDonough said.

Barth said that according to McDonough, the game of strip poker lasted about 30 minutes, McDonough, Marriott and Mazzaglia then watched a movie for about 15 minutes, and Mazzaglia strangled and abused Marriott for 10 to 15 minutes.

Barth noted that Marriott called McDonough at 8:51 p.m. that night to say she had arrived outside their apartment, and that McDonough made a call after Marriott’s death at 10:47 p.m.

“You are missing approximately an hour in the evening of Oct. 9 at your apartment,” Barth said to McDonough.

“I wasn’t really looking at the clock — those are estimates of time,” McDonough said.

McDonough is serving a 1½- to three-year prison term after pleading guilty last July to charges including witness tampering and hindering the investigation, as part of a plea agreement. She has testified that she helped cover up the murder and rape of Marriott, whose body has never been found.

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