DOVER, N.H. — A defense expert in the case of a man charged with killing a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student yesterday disputed the key witness’s testimony about how she died.
Dr. Ira Kanfer was the second defense witness to testify for 31-year-old Seth Mazzaglia, who is charged with first-degree murder in the October 2012 death of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott.
Kanfer says that if Mazzaglia strangled Marriott from behind with a rope, there would have been a visible furrow on her neck where Mazzaglia’s former girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, testified she saw no deep line.
Kanfer said descriptions of the neck area by McDonough and a couple Mazzaglia called to his apartment while Marriott’s body was still there are more consistent with a smothering death.
Six days after the killing, McDonough told Mazzaglia’s defense team that Marriott died of suffocation during rough, consensual sex with her. She shifted the blame to Mazzaglia six months later in her grand jury testimony, after she was granted immunity from prosecution for any role she played in the killing. She testified that Mazzaglia killed Marriott and raped her motionless body after Marriott had rebuffed two sexual advances.
The former defense investigator, Lisa Greenwaldt, testified yesterday that she wished she had recorded her Oct. 15, 2012, interview with McDonough. Instead, Greenwaldt took notes during the nearly four-hour interview and used them to write a 25-page report that McDonough reviewed two days later.
Greenwaldt, the defense’s first witness in the 18-day trial, videotaped McDonough reviewing and editing the report. Defense attorney Joachim Barth asked her why she did that.
“Given what she told us and her demeanor telling us, we wanted to memorialize it,” Greenwaldt said. “Many times people who incriminate themselves, they change their story.”
Mazzaglia’s fate hinges largely on whether the jury finds McDonough’s witness account credible.