DOVER, N.H. — A former cellmate of the man prosecutors say raped and killed a University of New Hampshire co-ed testified yesterday the defendant had elaborate plans to escape jail and hire someone to hurt or kill two witnesses in his case.
Former cellmate Ryan Bachman testified Seth Mazzaglia asked him to obtain a gun, two cars and disguises to use in a jailbreak planned for a date he was scheduled to go to court for a hearing in the slaying case of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott.
Mazzaglia, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of the Westborough, Mass., teen. Prosecutors say he strangled and raped her when she rebuffed his sexual advances on Oct. 9, 2012, in the apartment he shared with then-girlfriend Kathryn “Kat” McDonough.
Mazzaglia’s lawyers say McDonough killed Marriott during rough sex involving restraints. They told jurors he helped dump the body into a river that feeds into the ocean and initially took blame for her death out of his “obsessive” love for McDonough.
Bachman and Mazzaglia were cellmates in the medical unit of the Strafford County jail for a week in December 2012. Bachman testified Mazzaglia wanted someone to hurt or kill a couple who were slated to testify against him. Bachman didn’t recall their names, but said Mazzaglia did give him the address.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Hinckley told jurors in his opening statement that Mazzaglia created an elaborate plan to kill Roberta Gerkin and Paul Hickok, two friends who were called to Mazzaglia’s apartment after Marriott was killed.
Gerkin testified she cut two plastic grocery bags from Marriott’s head and described a line on her neck where her pale torso met a complexion Gerkin described as “purplish.”
“If they were taken care of — killed or something — they wouldn’t have much of a case against him,” Bachman said Mazzaglia told him.