DOVER, N.H. (AP) — The defense attorney for a man charged with raping and killing a University of New Hampshire student spent his first day cross-examining the state’s star witness trying to convince jurors she was possessed by imaginary characters she had created.
Defense attorney Joachim Barth also asserted the witness, Kathryn McDonough, changed her story and shifted the blame from herself to defendant Seth Mazzaglia, her ex-boyfriend, just to get a reduced sentence.
Mazzaglia is charged with first-degree murder in the October 2012 death of 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, of Westborough, Massachusetts. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say he and McDonough dumped Marriott’s body in a river and it hasn’t been recovered.
McDonough, 20, testified Thursday the imaginary characters she began creating during childhood were to help her get through difficult situations.
Barth opened his cross-examination reminding McDonough that she gave a statement to him and his investigators two days after Mazzaglia’s arrest and told them Marriott died while McDonough was having sex with her with a restraint that kept Marriott from raising her head. McDonough told the defense team that Marriott had a seizure and died. McDonough agreed that was what she said at the time.
Barth emphasized that she changed her story only after she was given an immunity deal “to reduce your years in prison.” McDonough agreed with the timing.
Barth spent several hours going over Facebook pages dating to 2011 and other conversations with Mazzaglia, 31, and others in which she talked of other characters or personas she had created. She testified repeatedly Thursday that they were “masks” she would use when she wanted to be stronger.
During questioning peppered by objections by prosecutors, Barth referenced conversation after conversation in which McDonough had talked about the personas, including a strong one dubbed Scarlet.