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Lawyer to Mazzaglia ex-girlfriend: 'You have no appreciation for Ms. Marriott's life'

Union Leader Correspondent

June 12. 2014 9:31PM
Kathryn McDonough said Thursday that before the murder trial of Seth Mazzaglia, she'd been unable to tell the truth about what happened to Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott on the night she was killed. (John Huff/Foster's Daily Democrat/POOL)

DOVER — Kathryn “Kat” McDonough choked up Thursday as the lawyer of her ex-boyfriend Seth Mazzaglia ended days of cross-examination with: “You have no appreciation for Ms. Marriott’s life.”

McDonough, 20, said that before Mazzaglia’s murder trial, she’d long been unable to tell the truth about what happened to UNH student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott on the night of Oct. 9, 2012.

“I’ve been locked in my thoughts — of course I think about her,” McDonough said. “This is just the beginning, where I can actually explain what really happened to her.”

Mazzaglia is facing first- and second-degree murder charges in the death of Marriott, a 19-year-old from Westborough, Mass. McDonough testified last week that she was sitting next to Marriott when Mazzaglia began strangling her from behind with a rope, and that Mazzaglia, 31, then raped Marriott’s limp body.

Defense lawyer Joachim Barth has accused McDonough of killing Marriott during a night of rough sex that caused suffocation and possibly a seizure.

McDonough acknowledged Thursday that she initially lied to investigators, Barth’s legal team, Mazzaglia and others. She said that in attempts to protect Mazzaglia, she told those lies and created a story about rough sexual contact that led to the “accident” of Marriott’s death.

“I was willing to lie for him,” McDonough said. “I was willing to do just about anything to save him.”

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.

Earlier Thursday, Barth returned to recorded interviews McDonough gave in Barth’s law office on Oct. 15 and 17, 2012, just days after Marriott’s death and Mazzaglia’s arrest Oct. 13.

“You described to us that the kind of harness you put on Liz Marriott would make it hard to breathe if you pushed your head forward, correct?” Barth asked.

“We didn’t actually put a harness on her, so it was just something I came up with,” McDonough said.

“You described the encounter with Liz Marriott to us on the 15th and confirmed it again on the 17th?” he asked.

“I described a fictional encounter,” she replied.

“You described, literally, the feelings you had during this act of sexual domination,” Barth pressed.

“That was the way I described something that didn’t actually happen,” McDonough said.

Mazzaglia’s defense took more than an hour Wednesday afternoon in court to play a video of McDonough in Barth’s law office on Oct. 17, 2012. McDonough appeared at ease in the video, smiling and laughing several times while talking with an investigator.

“I can’t deny the fact that I do tend to laugh when I’m nervous,” McDonough said to Barth. “That was a way for me to calm down.”

“Does that make you a really good liar then, or a better liar now?” Barth asked.

“I’m not lying now,” McDonough said. “I’ve been told that I (stink) at lying. I don’t know if people actually believed my story or not.”

The trial in Strafford County Superior Court resumes today at 9:30 a.m.

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