Jury selection starts in UNH student murder case
Seth Mazzaglia, center, arrives at Strafford County Superior Court Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Dover, N.H., for jury selection his trial in the death of University of New Hampshire Student Elizabeth Lizzi Marriott. Prosecutors say Mazzaglia raped and killed Marriott, of Westborough, Mass., and dumped the teen's body into the Piscataqua River which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. Her body has never been found. (AP Photo)
FILE - This undated file family photo shows Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott of Westborough, Mass. Jury selection begins Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Strafford County, N.H., Superior Court, in the first-degree murder trial of Seth Mazzaglia, 31, of Dover, N.H. He is charged with killing the 19-year-old University of New Hampshire sophomore on Oct. 9, 2012, after his former girlfriend lured Marriott to his apartment. Her body has not been found. (AP Photo/Courtesy Britney Atwood, File)
Jury selection is expected to run well into next week in the murder trial of 31-year old Seth Mazzaglia, who is accused of raping and killing University of New Hampshire sophomore Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott in 2012.
Prosecutors said Mazzaglia and his former girlfriend – Kathryn McDonough – lured Marriott to the Dover apartment they shared, and that Mazzaglia sexually assaulted her and strangled her with a rope. Then, they said, Mazzaglia and McDonough dumped the Westborough, Mass., teen’s body into the Piscataqua River off Peirce Island in Portsmouth. Her body has never been found.
The 140 potential jurors who gathered in the courtroom at Strafford County Superior Court yesterday morning were told the case likely would involve graphic testimony about sex acts, including sadomasochism and bondage and discipline. About 50 will return for further questioning, while nearly 100 individually whispered to Judge Steven Houran reasons why they wanted to be excused from the case.
After the lawyers introduced themselves to the jury pool, Mazzaglia faced the potential jurors and said, “Good morning. Seth Mazzaglia.” He has pleaded not guilty and told investigators Marriott died accidentally during consensual rough sex. Prosecutors are adamant there was nothing consensual about Marriott’s death.
McDonough, 20, is expected to be the key witness against him. She is serving a 1½- to three-year prison sentence for hindering the prosecution, witness tampering and conspiracy.
The trial is scheduled to begin May 27, but Houran told lawyers before the start of jury selection it may start May 23 if a jury is chosen sooner than expected.
Marriott had transferred to UNH and had been on campus only five weeks when the killing occurred. She met McDonough at a nearby department store where they both worked.
Mazzaglia was arrested Oct. 13, 2012 – four days after Marriott was last seen alive.