Mazzaglia receives additional charges in Marriott case

By Corinne Holroyd
On November 22, 2013

Prosecutors added three more charges this month against Seth Mazzaglia, the Dover man accused of killing UNH commuter student Elizabeth Marriott in his apartment in October last year, including one for a plan to escape jail.

According to the indictment papers provided by the Strafford Country Superior Court, the charges include conspiracy to commit tampering with witnesses and informants, conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence and criminal solicitation (implements for escape and other contraband).

The two conspiracy charges were executed to take the place of an old conspiracy charge after the attorney general's office did a "reevaluation of the information."

"The language of the new conspiracy charges [changed] ... but the overall act is the same," Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said.

Hinckley said that the reworded charges "more accurately represent the information about the case."

As reported in previous issues of The New Hampshire, Marriott disappeared last year, on Oct. 9, 2012. She was last heard from when she texted a friend around 10 p.m. saying she was visiting friends in Dover, where her cell phone was last used. She also left a note for her family saying she would be home by midnight.

Mazzaglia's girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, pleaded guilty on July 25 to her charges of witness tampering, hindering apprehension or prosecution and conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension or prosecution in the process of murdering Marriott.

Mazzaglia's charge of criminal solicitation comes from his attempt to escape custody for the Marriott murder. Mazzaglia, according to the indictment documents, partnered with a man named Ryan Bachman for the planned escape. Mazzaglia provided Bachman with directions for the planned "armed and violent breakout," and also gave Bachman access to his bank account to pay for the escape.

Bachman did not appear in the Strafford County Superior Court's November term indictments.

Mazzaglia's charge of conspiracy to commit tampering with witnesses and informants included 13 components. According to the documents, after he and McDonough murdered Marriott, the two discussed how they would cover up the murder, including creating false alibis, telling police they did not see Marriott, giving officers those false alibis, discussing options if their alibis failed - including telling officers and Mazzaglia's defense team that Marriott died in a consensual sexual act - and planning to marry so McDonough could invoke a marital right to avoid testifying against Mazzaglia.

The prosecution and indictments papers also claim that in December 2012, Mazzaglia sent letters to McDonough giving her false information to memorize, including framing friends Paul Hicock and Roberta Gerkin, whom they called to Mazzaglia's apartment after Marriott was dead. Mazzaglia, according to prosecutors, also wrote in the letters that he wanted to kill Gerkin and Hicock and suggested Marriott commit suicide. He included possible methods for both actions. Mazzaglia also instructed McDonough to destroy the letters after she memorized the contents. In addition to marriage, Mazzaglia set plans to run away "to a country without an extradition treaty with the United States" and change their names and identities.

The letters, according to the indictment, were given to a fellow inmate who was instructed to - when he got out of jail - "deliver letter(s) to Kathryn McDonough written by Seth Mazzaglia."

Mazzaglia's charge of conspiracy to commit falsifying evidence claims that Mazzaglia and McDonough sent fake text messages asking why Marriott did not arrive at Mazzaglia's apartment and deleted previous texts discussing her visit.

Mazzaglia and McDonough also, according to the charges, hid Marriott's body in a suitcase and tarp, gathered her clothing and possessions "as well as the rope that Seth Mazzaglia used to murder" her, and transported everything via Marriott's car to Pierce Island and disposed of her body in the Piscataqua River and Atlantic Ocean estuary area. The two supposedly destroyed Marriott's cell phone and GPS by "discarding them out of the window of [her] moving automobile." The car was later left in a UNH parking lot.

The indictment also said the duo disposed of the items - including the tarp, suitcase, rope and Marriott's, Mazzaglia's and McDonough's clothing and other items - across several dumpsters in the Seacoast area.

These three charges are in addition to Mazzaglia's previous indictment on April 23 for his two first-degree murder charges and his second-degree murder charge. These charges fit alternate theories of how Marriott was murdered.

As for whether or not there will be more charges - in addition to murder, conspiracy and solicitation - Hinckley said that the attorney general's office will act on whatever evidence there is.

In other words, if new information comes up, new charges will be filed. "We continue to investigate the case," he said.

After pleading guilty to her charges, McDonough received one and a half to three years in prison for her cooperation with the case.

In an impact statement to the court, Bob Marriott, Lizzi Marriott's father, said he has "accepted this negotiated plea as the right thing to do for this criminal case to move forward."

He also said, "I do not think that Kat McDonough is getting a fair or a just sentence given her involvement with Lizzi's death."

Marriott's body was never found, despite search efforts in Portsmouth, where prosecutors claim Mazzaglia and McDonough disposed of her body in the waters, and the surrounding areas.

No date has been set for Mazzaglia's trial and he remains in the Stafford County jail.

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