DOVER — Strafford County Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker ordered a woman serving a life sentence to pay about $1.86 million to the family of her ex-boyfriend, who was executed at their home in 2008.
Representatives of David King’s estate sought damages and enhanced compensatory damages for the “brutal and savage execution” of King by Derek Saunders and Scott Mazzone, who were hired by girlfriend Dianna Saunders to prevent King from reporting the theft of $440,000 from Dr. William Meredith and to collect $500,000 life insurance policy payable to Dianna Saunders, according to court records.
At the time of the execution, which occurred Aug. 29, 2008, David King and Dianna Saunders lived together at 81 Old Dover Point Road.
After planning “the execution” for more than a year, Derek Saunders and Scott Mazzone attacked King in the basement of the apartment he shared with Dianna Saunders, who arranged to be away from the home at the time, according to court records.
“Mazzone shot King in the back of the head with a rifle. Apparently, Mazzone saw King move so he slashed his throat to be sure he was dead,” according to court records.
Following the death, but before a grand jury handed up an indictment against Derek Saunders, his father — Roy Saunders — hanged himself. “Dianna Saunders (his ex-wife) held a $450,000 policy insuring his life payable to her. The whereabouts of that insurance policy is unknown,” according to court records.
On May 7, 2009, Scott Mazzone and Derek Saunders both waived indictment and plead guilty to second-degree murder and being accomplice, respectively.
On March 6, 2011, a jury found Dianna Saunders guilty of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and for the theft from Meredith. She was sentenced to life in prison at Goffstown State Prison for Women, according to court records.
While the court granted summary judgment to King’s family on July 29, 2013, Tucker listened to arguments about the damages during a hearing March 27, 2014, according to court records.
“Defendant Dianna Saunders is confined at the state prison, but she did not request to be brought to the hearing,” according to the five-page order written by Tucker April 17.
Representatives of King’s estate asked the court to award them $3,155,200, which includes doubling the $750,000 in loss of enjoyment damages, $329,600 in economic loss, and $500,000 for pain and suffering, according to court records.
“There was not a great deal of information provided on the pain and suffering David King would have experienced in the light of his injuries or the type of life he led before his murder, which makes it more difficult to measure what damages are appropriate,” according to Tucker’s order.
As a result, Tucker determined the total damages to estate were $1,855,200 — which included $327,600 for economic loss, $200,000 for pain and suffering, $400,000 for loss of enjoyment and $927,600 in enhanced compensatory damages, according to court records.
King was survived by three children, but as two were older than 18 when he died, they were not eligible to recover damages under state law “for the loss of familial relationship,” according to court records.