DOVER, N.H. (AP) — Jurors who will decide the fate of the man charged with raping and killing a University of New Hampshire student were given two markedly different scenarios to weigh in closing arguments Wednesday.
Prosecutors cast Seth Mazzaglia as a cold-blooded killer who manipulated and dominated his former girlfriend and became enraged when the woman she lured to their apartment — 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott — rebuffed his sexual advances.
Defense attorneys argue that Mazzaglia’s girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, manipulated Mazzaglia and the truth of what really happened that night to save herself. They claim McDonough suffocated Marriott during rough sex involving restraints and a panic-stricken Mazzaglia helped dispose of the body in the ocean to protect her.
Mazzaglia, 31, is charged with first-degree murder and other felonies in the Oct. 9, 2012, death of the Westborough, Mass., student. Strafford County Superior Court Judge Steven Houran will instruct jurors on the law before they begin deliberating the case Thursday, after 19 days of testimony and evidence.
Both sides focused their arguments on McDonough’s credibility and her testimony over the course of 10 days.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Ward urged jurors to listen to the recording of McDonough’s grand jury testimony and her labored breathing as she spent an uninterrupted hour detailing what happened that night.
“She supplied information about the terrible things she did because she told the truth about them,” Ward said, including tying a grocery bag around Marriott’s head and pushing her body off the rocks of Portland’s Peirce Island and into the ocean.
“Send him the message that you’ve seen through the lies, the cover-ups and the manipulation,” Ward said of Mazzaglia. “Know that he is a cold-blooded killer and deliver to him the justice he has for so long sought to avoid.”