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McDonough said Marriott's death would be “played up” in taped November 2012 conversation

Union Leader Correspondent

June 13. 2014 12:17PM
The state's key witness, Kathryn McDonough, testifies Friday in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover. McDonough has been on the witness stand for nine days. (Pool Photo by Jim Cole/Associated Press)

DOVER – Kathryn “Kat” McDonough said “I think it’s going to be played up as a sexual thing gone bad” in a taped November 2012 conversation, referring to the death a month earlier of UNH student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, according to an audio recording played Friday morning in Strafford County Superior Court.

McDonough made the statement to Rochester resident Roberta Gerkin, a friend of accused murderer Seth Mazzaglia. Gerkin has testified in Mazzaglia’s ongoing trial and went with her boyfriend to the Dover apartment Mazzaglia shared with McDonough on the night of Marriott’s death, Oct. 9, 2012.

McDonough, 20, said Friday that she did not know at the time that Gerkin was cooperating with police and recording their conversation on Nov. 7, 2012.

“If I’m married to (Mazzaglia) I don’t have to testify against him,” McDonough said to Gerkin. “They can’t pull me as a witness if I’m married to him. And I need that.”

Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley played the recording as part of his re-direct questioning of McDonough, who has been on the stand since June 3. As rain battered the tall courtroom windows, Lizzi Marriott’s parents, Bob and Melissa Marriott, sat in the front row of the gallery with other family members, as they have since the trial began late last month.

Gerkin said in the recording that when she and boyfriend Paul Hickok arrived at the one-room studio, “everything was done and done” and McDonough was “on the cabinet in the fetal position.”

Mazzaglia, 31, faces 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 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 has testified that she initially lied to investigators and others. In attempts to protect Mazzaglia, she has said, she repeatedly told a fabricated story about rough sexual contact that led to the “accident” of Marriott’s death.

McDonough has testified that she was lying when she told that story in recorded interviews in Barth’s law office on Oct. 15 and 17, 2012, just days after Marriott’s death and Mazzaglia’s arrest Oct. 13.

Hinckley also played a recording Friday of a taped conversation between McDonough and Gerkin on Oct. 26, 2012.

“We’ve talked to the attorneys and we have a, um, we’ve told them ‘what hap-pened,’” McDonough said, pausing in the middle of the word “happened” to add inflection that suggested ambiguity in her statements.

Earlier this week, McDonough testified that she created the story of rough sex on the fly, at least partially by using pieces of information or ideas that arose while she was speaking with Barth’s legal team in the days after Marriott’s death.

”I definitely, I fell into [b*******] logic mode and I kind of just went, ‘Yeah, OK,’ and they actually fed me a little bit of it just, and then I just kind of went with it,” McDonough said to Gerkin in the Oct. 26 conversation. “So they know something, but I don’t think they know about Doomsday. I don’t think they know about Doomsday.”

“Doomsday” is the name of one of several personas Mazzaglia frequently adopted, according to testimony.

In the Oct. 26, 2012, conversation, McDonough said to Gerkin that, “what is true will be found out.”

“Not like what is actually true, but what is going to be the truth,” she said.

McDonough said Friday that she “wasn’t, at the time, ever planning on actually telling the truth of what happened” on the night of Marriott’s death.

“I was planning on sticking to the story that was enacted,” she said.

Also on Oct. 26, 2012, McDonough referred to another of Mazzaglia’s personas.

“It just sucks siting here knowing that there’s… the actual truth,” McDonough said to Gerkin. “Dark Heart and I are probably the only ones who will ever really know, and that’s it.”

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 Friday morning, Hinckley played audio of a recorded phone call between McDonough and Mazzaglia in the winter of 2012-13, while he was in jail.

Mazzaglia discussed tarot cards with McDonough in the call, and told her about his decision to go with Barth’s public defense team.

Mazzaglia also told her that he had asked his father to use some of the money the family would save by using public defenders to help her “become a paramedic” or get a degree from UNH.

“I want him to use some of that to help you,” Mazzaglia said.

The trial continues this afternoon.

Crime, law and justice Seacoast


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