Alleged Marriott murderer indicted on new charge

By Corinne Holroyd
On September 27, 2013

Seth Mazzaglia, the 30-year-old accused of murdering 19-year-old UNH student Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott in his Dover apartment, was indicted on Sept. 19 for conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Mazzaglia was previously indicted on April 23 for his two first-degree murder charges and his second-degree murder charge.

According to the indictment documents supplied by the Strafford County Superior Court, the attorney general's office is accusing Mazzaglia of 20 acts that could count as hindering his apprehension or prosecution.

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, 19, 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. 

According to prosecutors, Mazzaglia strangled Marriott in his Dover apartment while attempting to commit sexual assault the day of her disappearance. 

Prosecutors also say that around 11:05 p.m. the same night, McDonough used her cellphone to text Marriott asking why she did not show up to the apartment. McDonough and Mazzaglia then deleted texts they sent to each other discussing Marriott's visit.

The indictment documents, signed by Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward, go on to explain that Mazzaglia and McDonough allegedly collected Marriott's belongings and any evidence, used Marriott's car to drive to dump her body in the Piscataqua River near Pierce Island in Portsmouth, and then broke and got rid of Marriott's cell phone and GPS before abandoning Marriott's car in a UNH parking lot.

The car was later found on Oct. 12. Marriott was pronounced dead the next day, despite a lack of a body, which has not been found.

The items collected by Mazzaglia and McDonough were supposedly disposed of in multiple dumpsters in the Seacoast area. These include "a suitcase and tarp that had been used to transport Elizabeth Marriott's body, the rope that Seth Mazzaglia used to kill Elizabeth Marriott," along with other items.

Mazzaglia and McDonough are also accused of coming up with and giving false alibis to police officers. If the alibis failed, according to the documents, they would claim Marriott died "accidentally during a consensual sexual encounter."

Another discussion the two are accused of having included planning to marry so McDonough could "invoke marital privilege" to avoid testifying against Mazzaglia.

After Mazzaglia was arrested on Oct. 13, the state revealed letters that Mazzaglia sent McDonough through a fellow inmate, who would bring the letters to McDonough "upon the inmate's release from jail," according to the indictment.

These letters included plans to tell police "Marriott had an unexpected seizure during a consensual sexual encounter" with Mazzaglia and McDonough and was then "murdered by Paul Hicock when he later arrived with Robert Gerkin."

Hicock and Gerkin were supposedly called to the apartment after Marriott's death and saw her body. Mazzaglia, in the letters, "expressed desires to kill material witnesses Roberta Gerkin and Paul Hicock," and allegedly discussed how to kill them. McDonough supposedly tried to convince Gerkin to lie to police on Nov. 7.

The last act in the indictment charges, which was written in the letters sent to McDonough, explained how Mazzaglia set plans "to abscond from the United States with Kathryn McDonough and alter their names and identities in order that Seth Mazzaglia could escape prosecution for the murders."

McDonough, after she memorized false information Mazzaglia wrote to her, destroyed the letters, per his instruction.

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."

Despite a June 26 pre-trial conference to determine a date, there has been no trial date set for Mazzaglia. He will remain in the Strafford County Jail until his arraignment.

"The arraignment date for September indictments is Oct. 3, 2013, at 9 a.m.," Kearston Crutchfield, case manager for the Strafford County Superior Court, wrote in an email Thursday.

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