August 14. 2014 9:34PM

Marriott family breaks silence about trial

Union Leader Correspondent

Speaking up for 'Lizzi'

Melissa Marriott, Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott's mother: Lizzi's "enthusiasm was infectious" when she talked about marine life, her mother said. "We used to go to Hampton Beach several times a summer," Melissa Marriott said. "I can't imagine going to the ocean in New Hampshire ever again."

Nicole Downey, a close friend of Lizzi's since childhood: Downey was six months pregnant when Lizzi was murdered. Downey said she can't imagine how to one day tell her baby daughter what happened. "How am I supposed to tell her that monsters really do exist?" she asked.

Bob Marriott, Lizzi's father: He read two poems Lizzi had written, one titled "Thief." "Even if you break me, tear away my soul, rip from me my silver wings, and leave with what you stole," Bob Marriott read, in tears. "Never will they bless you, or help when you're afraid. Merely useless trinkets, with me they should have stayed. Take away my everything, but when all is said and done, you'll sit with your treasure, but it's me who's truly won."

Susan Marriott, Lizzi's paternal grandmother: "In my 82 years, this is the most horrific event I've had to live through. We all have had to experience a tragedy that should never have happened."

Becky Hanna, Lizzi's aunt: "You will not take away our strength, our love for Lizzi, our happy future, our family bond, our everlasting love for family and friends," she told Mazzaglia.

Tony Hanna, Lizzi's uncle: "You are a twisted individual who brought only darkness and pain to this world," he said to Mazzaglia. "I will take comfort that you will live in your darkness until the day you die."

Melissa Marriott said Thursday that while "22 months is a long time to remain silent," her family chose to do so in order not to hinder the prosecution of Seth Mazzaglia.

She and the Marriott family broke that silence in a media room filled with television cameras, after Judge Steven Houran gave Mazzaglia maximum sentences on all charges related to the murder of Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott and the attempted cover-up that followed.

“We will never get Lizzi back and we will miss her for the rest of our days, but knowing he will never be able to do this to another young woman is of some consolation,” Melissa Marriott said.

She spoke specifically to Roberta Gerkin and Paul Hickock, two Rochester residents whom Mazzaglia’s former girlfriend, Kathryn McDonough, called to the Dover apartment Mazzaglia and McDonough shared after Mazzaglia had strangled Marriott and raped her limp body on the night of Oct. 9, 2012.

Gerkin was a friend of Mazzaglia’s; Hickok is Gerkin’s boyfriend. Both testified during the trial that they saw Marriott’s body lying on the floor of the apartment that night, but shortly afterward left and went back home without calling police or for an ambulance, because, they said, they trusted Mazzaglia to do so himself.

“How could you possibly believe that the perpetrator and co-conspirator of Lizzi’s murder would do the right thing and call 911?” Melissa Marriott asked Thursday. “It’s my humble opinion that neither of you were brave enough to call because neither of you were willing to get involved.”

Marriott said that “lack of compassion and action” had dire results for her family, regardless of whether Lizzi Marriott was beyond medical help when Gerkin and Hickok saw her. Mazzaglia and McDonough threw Lizzi’s body into swift-moving waters off Peirce Island in Portsmouth that night. Her body has never been found.

“If either one of you had decided to be brave and compassionate, we would have gotten Lizzi’s body back so we could have had a proper funeral and burial,” Melissa Marriott said. “After all the other horrible acts that were perpetrated on Lizzi, your decision allowed the perpetrators one final horrendous act, throwing my baby’s body into the river.”

She and other members of the Marriott family criticized the media Thursday as well. In the days immediately following Lizzi Marriott’s death, McDonough told public defenders in a recorded interview in their Dover office that Lizzi died during rough sexual play involving bondage. McDonough later changed her story when speaking to a grand jury and in court after reaching a plea deal — she is serving time for hindering prosecution — but the initial story played a significant role in the trial and media coverage.

“It was nice to be able to say that was not our Lizzi,” Melissa Marriott said Thursday. “That was all lies.”