By Mike LaBella
HAVERHILL — Just hours before Christina Mulgrave was killed by her husband Craig Mulgrave, she had dropped by the home of her sister in Lowell to talk about the job interview she'd just returned from.
Michelle Gonzales said her sister told her that she wasn't happy in her marriage, that she'd made a huge mistake and that she had asked her husband to leave but he wouldn't. "I told her to call the police and to stay for dinner," Gonzales said. "But she was adamant about going home. She wanted to settle what had happened the night before."
What happened the night before came to light yesterday in Essex Superior Court in Salem, where Craig Mulgrave, 35, is on trial for the murder of his wife, Christina Mulgrave, 45.
The prosecutor told a jury on Tuesday that Craig Mulgrave stabbed his wife a dozen times with a kitchen knife on the afternoon of Feb. 9, 2010. Police say it happened around 3 p.m. in the couple's apartment at 107 Chestnut St. in Haverhill. She was rushed to Merrimack Valley Hospital, where she later died. The jury took a bus ride to the couple's apartment and spent about five minutes viewing the scene yesterday.
Craig Mulgrave's lawyer, Edward Hayden, told the jury on Tuesday that his client was not in his right mind, that he was diagnosed with depression and wasn't taking his medication as prescribed. He had asked the jury to find him guilty of murder in the second degree, but not in the first degree.
Yesterday, Michelle Gonzales told the jury her sister met Craig Mulgrave at a vacation resort in Jamaica, and that she believed Craig Mulgrave worked there as a security guard. They got married there in July of 2008.
About a year later, Christina Mulgrave obtained a visa for Craig Mulgrave. The couple lived in Las Vegas for a while, then moved to Haverhill in the fall of 2009. Gonzales said her sister wanted to be closer to family here, including her two grown children from a previous marriage.
Prosecutor Melissa Woodard asked her to describe her sister's marriage. She said it seemed like a normal one.
"I didn't see anything odd about the relationship," she said.
During her testimony Gonzales often sobbed quietly and wiped tears from her eyes with a tissue.
Gonzales said that when her sister visited her on Feb. 9, 2010, she told her that the night before she'd found Craig Mulgrave on the floor with a noose around his neck.
"She told me she dismissed it as sort of ridiculousness," Gonzales said.
Craig Mulgrave was arrested Feb. 9, 2010 after police responded to a frantic 911 call at around 3 p.m. from Christina Mulgrave saying she was being stabbed to death.
Hayden questioned Gonzales about what she told police after her sister's murder.
"You told them Craig had asked Christina for the best way to kill himself," Hayden said.
"I don't recall that," she responded.
Hayden handed her a printed transcript of the conversation, which she read.
"That's what it says I said," she said. "That was the day my sister was murdered. I was in a frazzled state. I might have said that."
Christina Mulgrave's son, Evan McCain, 22, testified as well. Woodard asked about his relationship with Craig Mulgrave. McCain said it consisted of small talk, Sunday dinners at their apartment and playing video games with him.
McCain said the night before his mother was murdered he was snowboarding at Ski Bradford and got a text message from her.
He said it was around 10 p.m. and the ski area was closing. He drove to 107 Chestnut St. with two friends, who stayed in the car.
"When you went in what happened," Woodard asked.
"She took me to where he was laying in the office, with a makeshift noose around his neck, completely unconscious," he said, adding that a bottle of alcohol was on a table nearby and that a knife was in one of Craig Mulgrave's back pockets.
McCain said he and his mother stood over him for about 10 minutes, talking, then he sat down and wrote a letter to Craig Mulgrave, regarding his disapproval with him in regards to the safety of his mother.
McCain said he received a text message from his mother the next day, Feb. 9.
"He's threatening to kill me, I'm scared he's going to kill me," she texted.
McCain said he raced out of the home in Bradford where he lives with his girlfriend and her family. When he arrived at 107 Chestnut St., he encountered emergency vehicles and caution tape.
"I saw my mom come out in a stretcher," he said.
Hayden pressed McCain about the night he found Craig Mulgrave on the floor of his mother's apartment. The jury was shown a photo of Mulgrave as McCain had found him.
Hayden asked who took the photograph. McCain said he did not know.
"You didn't call police? You didn't call for an ambulance? You didn't take the noose off his neck?... You wrote a letter," Hayden said. McCain responded yes to each question.
"You left the knife there, you left the liquor there, then you left?" Hayden asked?
"Yes," McCain said.
The jury was shown a wood block containing a set of kitchen knives. Massachusetts State Trooper Josh Ulrich testified that the set, which was missing one knife, was found in the apartment where the Mulgraves lived.
Trooper William Eiserman, of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services, testified that he'd matched a thumb print on the handle of the murder weapon to Craig Mulgrave.
He showed the jury what appeared to be a foot-long carving knife with a white plastic handle.
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